Schumer Remarks Ahead of President Trump’s Tax Address

August 30, 2017

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer delivered remarks on a call with reporters regarding President Trump’s scheduled address on taxes this afternoon in Missouri. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

Later today, President Trump is planning to travel to Missouri to stump for his yet-to-be-released tax plan.

We Democrats have laid out three basic principles that we believe should guide tax reform. These three principles will provide the best outcome for middle class and working class Americans.

First, we believe that tax reform shouldn’t increase the tax burden on the middle class, and there should not be a tax cut for the wealthiest one percent of Americans, period.

Not one penny of tax cuts should go to that top one percent.

The millionaires and billionaires in this country are doing just fine, god bless them. We don’t have any problem with that.

But wages for millions of Americans in the middle class and those struggling to get there have been stagnant for far too long, while the benefits of a growing economy have gone almost exclusively to the top.

Its middle class Americans, not those in the 1%, that deserve tax relief. We Democrats will not go along with a tax plan that includes a tax cut for those who need it the least.

Second, we believe that tax reform should go through regular order so that both Democrats and Republicans have an opportunity to craft a bipartisan package that’s good for the American people.

The Republicans have already seen what happens when they go it alone in a partisan way, with health care. They should learn from that failure and not repeat the same mistake with tax reform.

Rather than writing a partisan bill that will benefit the wealthy and special interests, they should commit to working with Democrats, through regular order, to craft a bill in the light of day that puts the middle class and those struggling to make it first.

And third, tax reform should not add to the deficit.

Tax reform should be deficit neutral, as determined by a non-partisan, independent scorekeeper. Republicans should not use fuzzy math or blatantly partisan estimates to provide the mirage of deficit neutrality. It should actually be deficit neutral.

For decades, the hard right wing of the Republican Party has tried to implement a concerted strategy: cut taxes to starve the government of revenues, then come back and say “oh deficits are so big that we have to cut Social Security and Medicare.”

We Democrats are not going to be a part of that cynical strategy, and if Donald Trump is going to stick to his promise not to cut Medicare or Social Security, he shouldn’t be either.

Throughout his first seven months in office, the President has repeatedly talked a good game when it comes to the working class, but just about everything he’s done has been to benefit the wealthy special interests, adding to the burden of those in the middle class.

If early reports are right, the President is going to try to cloak his tax plan, which is really a boon for the rich, as a populist plan that will be a boon for the middle class.

But when the Republicans actually put forward a plan, if it provides huge cuts for the wealthy while leaving crumbs for the middle class, the American people will rise up against it.

If the President wants to use populism to sell his tax plan, he ought to consider actually putting his money where his mouth is, and putting forward a plan that puts the middle class, not the top 1%, first.

Rather than pushing a plan that puts social security and Medicare at risk in order to give a huge tax break to the millionaires and billionaires, I hope the President will discuss a plan that can earn bipartisan support.

If not, if the President disagrees with us on taxes, I hope he’ll use this rally to explain why he thinks the top one percent need a tax cut. I hope he’ll explain why he thinks only one party should do tax reform. And I hope he’ll explain why he wants to blow a huge hole in the deficit, putting social security and Medicare on the chopping block when he promised he wouldn’t cut them.

The President has two paths he can take. We hope for the sake of the country, he’ll choose to work with us and put the middle class, rather than wealthy special interests, first.

 ###