Democratic opposition to President Trump’s tax bill may not be as united as previously thought, according to new reports.
Senators Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana), Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota), and Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) have been flirting with the idea of supporting Trump’s tax bill if Republicans were willing to meet with them and other moderate Democrats to discuss specifics of the legislation. The Associated Press reported that the senators told Trump they could convince enough Democrats to get 70 “yes” votes on the bill if Republicans were willing to negotiate with them.
Coincidentally, industries that stand to benefit from the tax plan are big donors to those three senators. Sen. Donnelly has received almost $400,000 in campaign donations from the securities and investment industry this election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Sen. Heitkamp received more than $463,000 from the investment industry, and another $400,000 from the fossil fuel industry. Sen. Manchin — father of notorious pharma CEO Heather Bresch — received over $276,000 from the securities and investment industry.
Additionally, those three senators’ states were all solidly in Donald Trump’s corner last year, with 63 percent of North Dakota voters picking Trump over Clinton, 67 percent of West Virginians siding with Trump, and Indiana choosing Trump over Clinton by nearly 20 points.
Currently, the senate version of the tax bill would repeal the individual health insurance mandate in the Affordable Care Act to pay for its steep $1.5 trillion cost. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that would result in 13 million more Americans without health insurance — which would, by default, significantly increase insurance costs for everyone else.
Additionally, over the next ten years, the senate version of the bill would raise taxes for everyone making under $75,000 per year in order to pay for dramatic tax cuts for the top 1 percent of earners and the top 0.1 percent of earners. The tax bill would also reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent to ostensibly encourage more capital investment, though corporate CEOs say the tax bill wouldn’t affect their investment decisions.
Even if more than two Republicans defect from their party and vote against the bill, the legislation could still pass under budget reconciliation rules if Sens. Donnelly, Heitkamp, and Manchin vote for it.
Voters wishing to leave messages with those three senators about Trump’s tax bill can call their Washington, DC offices at the following numbers:
Sen. Joe Donnelly: 202-224-4814
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp: 202-224-2043
Sen. Joe Manchin: 202-224-3954
Scott Alden is a freelance contributor covering national politics, education, and environmental issues. He is a proud Toledo University graduate, and lives in the suburbs of Detroit.