Democrats slam GOP plan to impose national sales tax and abolish IRS

Democrats are seizing on a Republican proposal to impose a national sales tax and abolish the Internal Revenue Service as a bludgeon against the Republican Party, even though the bill has few supporters, even among Republican lawmakers.

The Fair Tax Act, sponsored by Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-Ga.) and introduced this month, would eliminate income, payroll, estate and gift taxes, instead imposing a 23 percent national sales tax. It would also eliminate funding for the IRS after tax year 2027.

Carter told Fox Business on Tuesday that people “would much rather have an excise tax” when given a choice.

“In fact, you could see … what you’re actually earning each week in your paycheck,” Rep. Andrew S. Clyde (R-Ga.), another supporter of the bill, said this month.

On Tuesday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) seemed to respond to a question about whether he supported the Fair Tax Act by telling reporters, simply, “No.” Representatives for Carter and McCarthy did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

In an opinion piece for the Atlantic this week, anti-tax conservative Grover Norquist criticized the reintroduction of the Fair Tax Act as “a free gift to Democrats” and warned the GOP not to let a small minority of Republicans House force a vote on that.

Norquist also expressed concern that such a national sales tax, and the corresponding monthly sales tax refunds for US citizens, would essentially create a universal basic income.

“The ads you can run are that so-and-so wants to add a 30 percent sales tax on top of [prices], which will be devastating for middle-income people. That’s a pretty crude announcement,” Norquist told The Hill.

Those announcements have indeed begun, in the form of lines of attack from the Democrats and the White House. At a joint news conference Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (DN.Y.) criticized the Fair Tax Act and said it would result in dramatic tax increases for nearly all Americans. , create a particular burden for the elderly and “detonate” Social Security.

“The so-called ‘Fair Tax Act’ is unfair, unreasonable and un-American. He will impose a tax increase that is dramatic for 90 percent of the American people, working families, middle class people, senior citizens and those who aspire to be part of the middle class, the poor, the sick and the afflicted. ”, Schumer. saying.

Jeffries noted that older Americans who had already paid into the system throughout their lives with income taxes would be “double and triple taxed” by a national sales tax.

This legislation is extreme and is functionally the Republican Party’s tax scam, part two,” Jeffries said. “We will expose it and… we will do everything we can to stop it.”

Schumer said such a “silly” plan would never pass the Senate as long as he was the majority leader in the chamber. He also defended the Democrats’ ardent early warnings, despite the fact that the bill will almost certainly die, saying it remains a possibility that the plan could gain traction within the GOP with the support of far-right Republicans. .

“Everybody thought that leader McCarthy would never agree with the MAGA Republicans when he ran for president,” Schumer said, referring to the concessions McCarthy made to far-right holdouts in his presidential bid. “I do not underestimate the power over McCarthy of these extreme MAGA Republicans. We have to fight this plan now before he gains more strength. Too many Republicans support him.”

President Biden is expected to make the proposal a major issue in a speech on the economy Thursday in Virginia. The White House has already regularly attacked Republicans for suggesting changes to Medicare and Social Security, trying to paint the GOP as out of touch with average Americans.

“These guys are fiscally insane,” Biden said of the Republicans in remarks at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event last week.

Scattered support for the Fair Tax Act among Republicans is reminiscent of tensions within the Senate GOP last year, after Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) released an “11-point plan to bail out America.” ” which included a proposal for all Americans. to pay some form of income tax, and after Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) suggested that Social Security and Medicare be eliminated as federal entitlement programs and instead become programs passed by Congress annually as a discretionary expense.

Both proposals drew criticism from several prominent Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who flatly told reporters that the GOP “will not have on its agenda a bill that raise taxes on half the American people and end Social Security and Medicare within five years.”

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