- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Sen. Claire McCaskill said she has no regrets about her vote against the tax cut bill or calling it mere “scraps” for American families, striking a defiant stance as President Trump visits Missouri on Wednesday to boost her likely Republican opponent in November’s election.

The $1.5 trillion tax cuts and the rest of president’s agenda loom large in a race where the two-term incumbent Democrat is fighting to hold on to her Senate seat in a state Mr. Trump won by more than 18 points in 2016.

Ms. McCaskill insisted Tuesday that the tax cuts did more harm than good, despite bonuses or pay hikes at some big employers in Missouri such as American Family Insurance, Waste Management, Home Depot, Bank Midwest and Walmart.

“We have $1.5 trillion in deficits and we don’t have money for infrastructure and all that debt is owned by China, which means we are totally beholden to China, which is a very awkward position to be in in terms of our economy right now,” she told The Washington Times.

It was an economic talking point that adopted Mr. Trump’s get-tough rhetoric on China, signaling to Trump voters that she agrees with his worldview but disagrees with his policies.

The president is making his third visit to the “Show Me State,” leaning hard on a race that could decide whether his Republican Party retains control of the narrowly divided Senate.

He will tout the economic benefits from tax cuts at an event at a Boeing airplane plant in St. Louis. In the evening, he will headline a fundraiser for Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, the front-runner for the Republican nomination to challenge Mrs. McCaskill.

Tickets to the private fundraiser range from $5,000 to get in to $50,000 to sit with the hosts, according to the Springfield News-Leader.

“When it comes to raising money, we’ll never be able to surpass Claire McCaskill,” said Mr. Hawley. “She has 36 years of special interest political chits that she has collected. We’re the underdogs in this campaign, and we’re glad to have the president’s support. We’re going to fight every way we can to raise the resources that we need.”

The Hawley campaign hit Ms. McCaskill for siding with Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, to oppose tax relief for Missourians, reminding voters that she dismissed the tax cut benefits for workers as “scraps” when voting against it in December.

Boeing pledged to pass on savings from the tax cuts by setting aside an additional $100 million for corporate giving, $100 million for workforce development and $100 million to create “workplace of the future” facilities for Boeing employees.

Ms. McCaskill stood by her assessment that the tax cut benefits for workers were “scraps.”

“The pharmaceutical industry has given $50 billion to its shareholders and not lowered the price of one prescription drug, and when people hear that I think they understand the point I was trying to make,” she said.

Careful not to alienate Trump supporters, Ms. McCaskill did more than hunker down in defense of joining party-line votes against the president’s policies, including helping kill the Republican bill to fix the temporary deportation amnesty known as DACA.

She downplayed her record of voting against Mr. Trump’s policies 65 percent of the time, as tabulated by the political statistics website FiveThirtyEight.

“I don’t vote against the president because it’s the president’s policies. I don’t vote for it because it is the president’s policies. I look at each individual nominee and each individual policy,” said Ms. McCaskill.

She said she was proud that Mr. Trump signed 24 bills to which she made contributions, taking credit wherever she played a role regardless how small.

“Obviously, we see eye to eye on some things but certainly not everything,” said the senator. “That’s the independence that Missourians want. They do not want a rubber stamp for a president. They want someone who is going to make independent judgments.”

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