House Republicans Can't Answer One Basic Question About the Tax Bill They Just Signed Into Law

After a violation of parliamentary procedure sent the bill back to the House of Representatives, the GOP succeeded in ramming the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act through Congress Wednesday, despite the legislation's 26 percent approval rating with the American public. Policy analysts agree the bill will fundamentally reorder American society, entrenching inherited wealth for a generation, kicking 13 million off their insurance plans and decimating an already beleaguered middle class. Yet a new report suggests House Republicans can't answer even the most rudimentary question about the bill's contents.

According to HuffPost's Matt Fuller, he had to interview 18 congressmen and women before he could find one, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), who knew how many tax brackets the legislation creates. (For those scoring at home, the correct answer is seven: 10 percent, 12 percent, 22 percent, 24 percent, 32 percent, 35 percent and 37 percent.) These House members included Budget Committee Chairwoman Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), who co-authored the bill. 

"A number of House Republicans...admitted they didn’t know the brackets 'off the top of my head'." Fuller writes. "Other Republicans tried their best to squirm away from the question. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) claimed she knew the brackets, but wouldn’t list them when we repeatedly asked. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said he could probably answer the question, but loosely summoning Albert Einstein, added, 'Why remember what you can write down?'"

Still others, like Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Chris Collins (R-NY), resorted to educated guessing. (Gallagher and Cramer reportedly came the closest, but each left out two of the seven brackets.)

"The individual tax brackets aren’t inconsequential; they just weren’t what Republicans were truly focused on. If you were to ask any House Republican what the new corporate tax rate will be, they almost certainly would have been able to tell you it’s 21 percent. If you asked them the top individual rate only, they likely would have been able to tell you it was 37 percent," Fuller continues. "The rates in the middle, however, the rates that actually apply to the middle class—the people Republicans kept saying the bill was aimed to help—were not numbers the lawmakers knew. At least not specifically. They didn’t appear to have studied where individual rates were previously and where they’re going to be at various income levels—or if they did, they didn’t study very hard."

The Republican Party passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act without holding a single public hearing. Before the bill was returned to the House later that morning, the Senate GOP passed the legislation sometime after midnight Wednesday.

Read the full report at HuffPost.


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