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Pence-linked group steps up pressure on Congress in tax campaign

Marc Short

The Coalition to Protect American Workers, led by GOP strategists including Mark Short, who served as former Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, is warning members of Congress against reversing President Trump’s landmark 2017 tax reform law.

“If any elected member of Congress tries to jeopardize the next American recovery in the name of higher spending, expansive social welfare programs, the green new deal and higher taxes, we will ensure that you are held accountable,” the group wrote in a letter to lawmakers.

The group has a budget of between $25 million to $50 million to spend to oppose President Biden’s plan to increase the corporate tax rate to 28 percent and increase taxes on individuals earning more than $400,000 a year.

It is circulating its letter as Senate Democrats are preparing to put together a $3.5 trillion spending package that could raise taxes by the same amount, depending on whether moderates such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) insist that it be entirely paid for so as not to add to the deficit.

The group warned that the Senate’s passage of a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill earlier this week “begins a process to unwind [the] 2017 tax cuts and take away opportunities from families across the country.”

“Democrats in Congress have repeatedly expressed their intention to tie this bill to over $3 trillion in tax increases through a partisan reconciliation process,” it wrote.

“While we are disappointed to see that Congress has linked infrastructure to tax increases, the Coalition to Protect American Workers will continue undaunted in our mission to preserve the benefits of the 2017 tax cuts,” it added.

The group is touting the economic benefits of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, one of Trump’s biggest policy accomplishments, in what is certain to become core talking points of the Republican effort to defeat or whittle down the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation package.

“The results of the 2017 tax cut were rapid and extraordinary. In just over two years after the time that tax cuts were signed into law the U.S. added 5.3 million new jobs. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent, which was the lowest rate in 50 years,” it wrote.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has similarly cited statistics reflecting the strength of the U.S. economy before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the nation last year to make clear that Republicans will vote in unison to oppose any unwinding of the 2017 tax law.

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