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White House Ties Republicans to a Tax-Hike Plan Disowned by GOP

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© Reuters. White House Ties Republicans to a Tax-Hike Plan Disowned by GOP

(Bloomberg) — President Joe Biden, in his battle to craft a winning message on the fight to tame decades-high inflation, has sought to tie Republicans to a plan that calls for higher taxes on low-income Americans. 

There’s one problem: The GOP has disowned the proposal.

In recent days, Biden and his aides have repeatedly cited Republican Senator Rick Scott’s “Rescue America” plan — from February. That program included a call for “all Americans” to pay “some income tax to have skin in the game.” 

The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center estimates the proposal would raise taxes annually by $100 billion on some of the lowest-earning Americans.

“Congressional Republicans talk about inflation, but their only plan is to raise taxes on working families, taking even more money out of their pockets,” Biden said in a statement Wednesday responding to the latest inflation data, which showed a bigger jump in consumer prices than expected. 

Gene Sperling, a Biden senior adviser, said on Bloomberg Television’s “Balance of Power With David Westin” on Wednesday said that Scott, who authored the plan, is not “just an average senator,” because he is the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and speaks for his fellow party members.

Despite Democrats’ attempts to link the plan to Republicans, it has very little support in the party. Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell has said “it’s not the Republican plan.”

Scott himself tried to soften the language in April, saying that payroll taxes — the withholdings from paychecks that help fund Social Security and Medicare — should also count as paying taxes, though he hasn’t officially updated the plan.

“What the president is doing is he lies about things,” Scott said in an interview with Fox News when asked about Biden’s framing of the plan.

About 57% of households have no federal income-tax liability because of tax benefits, like the earned income tax credit or child tax credit, that offset IRS bills. 

However, far fewer households — only about 17% — pay no federal taxes at all, because many pay payroll and excise taxes, even if they don’t owe anything on income.

“The Republican party is not going to vote for tax increases at the worst possible time,” Senator Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican, said on Bloomberg TV.

GOP lawmakers have instead focused on blasting Biden and the Democrats for the $1.9 trillion pandemic-relief bill enacted in March 2021, saying it has helped fuel price surges.

Still, Democrats are hoping to use the Republicans’ absence of any alternative policy platform to highlight the point that the opposing party has few published ideas about how to address inflation. 

“There isn’t an alternative plan they’ve put forward,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at the White House briefing Tuesday. “So it’s either this, put together by the person who is leading the effort to win back the Senate, or nothing.”

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

 

Politics

Factbox-Five key U.S. midterm primaries in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Idaho

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, U.S. Democratic Senate candidate for Pennsylvania, poses for a portrait at a meet-and-greet at the Weyerbacher Brewing Company in Easton, Pennsylvania, U.S., May 1, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah Beier

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(Reuters) -Voters in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Idaho and Kentucky hold nominating primaries on Tuesday in which voters will pick their parties’ candidates for the U.S. Congress and other offices, helping to shape the field for the Nov. 8 midterm election.

Here is a look at several important contests.

Rebuked lawmaker voted out

U.S. Representative Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina lost a Republican nomination contest to defend his seat after getting rebuked by fellow Republicans for calling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy a thug and for saying he had witnessed cocaine use and been invited to orgies in Washington. He has drawn criticism over a naked video, has faced accusations of sexual harassment and has been stopped twice for carrying firearms into airports.

State Senator Chuck Edwards defeated Cawthorn and will likely win the general election because Cawthorn’s seat, based in the mountainous western part of the state, is considered safely Republican.

Fetterman wins amid health scare

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman cruised to victory in the Democratic nomination contest for what could be one of the tightest U.S. Senate races in November.

He emerged victorious just hours after having a pacemaker installed as he recovers from a stroke, raising questions about his ability to deliver on one of the Democrats’ best opportunities to add to their razor-thin Senate majority.

With Pennsylvania’s incumbent Republican Senator Patrick Toomey retiring, Fetterman will face the winner of a crowded Republican nomination contest.

David McCormick (NYSE:MKC) vs. Mehmet Oz

The battle for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in Pennsylvania was shaken up in its final week, as conservative commentator Kathy Barnette put in a strong closing performance.

However, former hedge fund CEO David McCormick and television wellness celebrity Mehmet Oz, backed by Trump, held their leading positions with 85% of the expected vote counted, according to Edison Research.

McCormick and Oz told their supporters they did not expect their race to be decided on Tuesday.

Trump-backed Ted Budd wins

U.S. congressman Ted Budd, endorsed by former President Donald Trump, defeated former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory in the Republican primary to succeed retiring U.S. Senator Richard Burr.

Budd, who voted against certifying Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential election, had little statewide name recognition before Trump got behind him. Afterward, Budd rose in public opinion polls against McCrory, a fiscally conservative standard-bearer of the Tea Party era.

In the November election, Budd will face Democrat Cheri Beasley, a Black woman who formerly served as chief justice of the state Supreme Court. Analysts expect the race to be competitive.

Brad Little vs. Janice McGeachin

Idaho Governor Brad Little is facing a Republican primary challenge from Janice McGeachin, who recently spoke at a political conference hosted by a white nationalist. McGeachin, who is endorsed by Trump, has been dogging Little from the right as the state’s lieutenant governor. She took the gubernatorial reins several times while Little was out of the state, issuing executive orders that banned pandemic-related mask mandates and ordering National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump’s endorsement of McGeachin has perplexed political observers because Little is a staunch conservative who has not had public spats with Trump.

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Fetterman wins Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania Senate race

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, U.S. Democratic Senate candidate for Pennsylvania, takes a selfie with attendees at a meet-and-greet at the Weyerbacher Brewing Company in Easton, Pennsylvania, U.S., May 1, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah Beier/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, a progressive who disclosed he had a stroke last week, defeated centrist congressman Conor Lamb in the party’s U.S. Senate primary, Edison Research projected on Tuesday.

Fetterman now faces a Republican candidate in the Nov. 8 general election to determine the successor to retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey. The race is pivotal in Democratic hopes of retaining their slim majority in the Senate. The Democratic primary was seen as a test of which wing of the party will hold sway heading into the general election.

Fetterman said on Sunday he had suffered a stroke last week but was on his “way to a full recovery.” His campaign said on Tuesday he successfully had a pacemaker installed to address irregular heart rhythms that caused the stroke.

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McConnell urges Biden administration to ensure sustained aid to Ukraine

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) listens as another Republican senator speaks to reporters following the Senate Republicans weekly policy lunch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/F

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell urged the Biden administration on Tuesday to lead an effort to ensure broad, sustained international support for Ukraine and said Washington should remain a reliable supplier of advanced weaponry for the besieged country.

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