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Republicans Are Running Away from Their Own Tax Plan

One of the items on the secret side-agreement that Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was forced to accept in order to get his job was bringing up a vote on the Fair Tax Act. This bill abolishes the IRS and the federal income tax and replaces it with a 30% national sales tax that supporters say will provide enough income to fund the government. The bill is extremely regressive, since virtually everything people buy will be subject to a huge tax and millionaires, who save or invest most of their income, will see their total tax bill drop precipitously.

Democrats are starting to point out that the brunt of the tax system the Republicans are proposing will fall on poor and middle-class people. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that the plan would raise the cost of buying a house by $125,000, it would raise the cost of buying a car by $10,000, and would raise the annual cost of groceries for a family by $3,500.

Some Republicans are starting to sense that holding an up-or-down vote on it would be a disaster, as Democrats would use a vote for it as a cudgel to batter any representative who voted for it. The numbers Schumer mentioned would be only the starting point. Other items that would also go up by 30% include child care, health insurance, clothes, shoes, insulin, tampons, medicine, and more. McCarthy is beginning to realize that promise or no promise, holding a vote would be a blunder. So he is now talking about sending it to a committee for a hearing. With a little bit of luck, it will never be seen again.

The MAGA 20 are going to feel cheated if McCarthy doesn't hold a vote. His defense is that they wanted a more transparent system in which the "regular order" was restored, with bills getting hearings in committees and members having the opportunity to offer amendments. Now they are getting it. Of course, McCarthy's hope is that the Ways and Means Committee votes to kill the bill so he can say: "It's not my fault we are not taking a vote. We followed the regular order and the bill failed." (V)

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