- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 16, 2021

Vulnerable House Democrats are already being targeted over the massive tax hikes Speaker Nancy Pelosi is backing to pay for President Biden’s $3.5 trillion social welfare package.

The National Republican Campaign Committee launched a five-figure ad campaign on Thursday attacking Democratic lawmakers for “selling out their constituents” by refusing to buck one of the largest tax increases in U.S. history.

“These Democrats promised to stand up to Nancy Pelosi’s reckless tax and spending spree, then let Pelosi walk all over them,” said Rep. Tom Emmer, a Minnesota Republican who chairs the NRCC. “Democrats’ reckless spending is causing prices to rise, and their massive tax hikes will make things even harder for American families trying to recover from a pandemic.”

Earlier this week, Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee released an 881-page bill proposing more than 40 individual tax hikes. As part of the proposal, Democrats also called for gutting several popular tax deductions and exemptions in an attempt to boost federal revenue.

Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat, said the changes would bring in more than $2 trillion over the next decade. Democrats plan to use the money to pay for Mr. Biden’s $3.5 trillion expansion of the federal safety net.

“Our proposals allow us to both address our perilously changing climate and create new, good jobs, all while strengthening the economy and reinvigorating local communities,” said Mr. Neal.

Republicans are salivating at the chance to run against the tax hikes. The NRCC’s ads castigate vulnerable Democrats, like Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, as “doormats” for Mrs. Pelosi’s agenda.  

“What’s the difference between Nancy Pelosi’s doormat and Congressman Josh Gottehiemer?” asks one of the ads. “Nothing. Gottheimer promised he would stand up to Pelosi’s reckless $3.5 trillion socialist spending spree. But he broke his promise and voted with Pelosi.”

Last month, Mr. Gottheimer led a group of moderate House Democrats into a standoff with Mrs. Pelosi over the spending package. The moderates threatened to block the spending bill unless the House first voted to Mr. Biden’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal.

But the moderates folded after a series of strong-arm tactics by Mrs. Pelosi, including a non-binding pledge to bring the infrastructure deal up for a vote by Sept. 27. In the end, Mr. Gottheimer and his allies voted to advance the $3.5 trillion package.

A spokesman for Mr. Gottheimer didn’t immediately return a press inquiry.

The NRCC’s ads come as the tax proposal by House Democrats has been widely criticized from both the left and right.

Republicans say it will hurt the economy, which is showing signs of inflation and still struggling to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.

Many also note that the proposal, as authored by House Democrats, breaks Mr. Biden’s pledge not to raise taxes on individuals making less than $400,000 annually, according to Congress’s bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation.

The revelation has forced even some Democrats to admit the proposal is flawed.

“I strongly support numerous provisions in the House Ways and Means portion of the Build Back Better Act, especially the historic provisions to combat the existential threat of climate change,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a Florida Democrat who is facing a tough re-election campaign next year. “But there are also spending and tax provisions that give me pause, and so I cannot vote for the bill at this early stage.”

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

• Kery Murakami can be reached at kmurakami@washingtontimes.com.

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