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Sen. Sherrod Brown: Trump Can Work With Dems On Taxes Or Throw In With McConnell And Billionaires

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown explains Donald Trump's choices on so called "tax reform" to CNN's Dana Bash.
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Donald Trump has made a lot of promises to his constituents when it comes to jobs, tax cuts and keeping good paying jobs right here in the United States. Most people are more than well aware of the fact that this nothing more than lip service and in the end, he's going to throw in with the Republicans and their billionaire donors who are still doing their best to sell their snake oil known as trickle-down economics and pretending that giving tax breaks to the one percent is going to magically rain down economic prosperity on the masses.

Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown has been critical of Trump in the past, but was willing to talk to Trump during a recent visit to the White House, and pitched some of his ideas for keeping good paying jobs in the United States, which he lays out clearly in a recent press release here: Brown: Tax Reform Should Encourage Companies to Invest in Workers:

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today continued his call for American workers to be a priority in upcoming negotiations over reforming the tax code. At a Finance Committee hearing today, Brown said he wants tax reform to focus on what’s best for American workers – not what’s best for corporations and their CEOs. [...]

As part of Brown’s plan to make hard work pay off for Ohioans, Brown has offered a pair of bills that would encourage companies to invest in their workers.

  1. The Patriot Employers Tax Credit would reward employers who keep jobs in the United States and pay workers well – encouraging them to create even more good-paying jobs in the U.S.
  2. The Corporate Freeloader Fee would require corporations that pay workers so little that their workers are forced onto government assistance programs to reimburse taxpayers for the cost.

Just last week, Brown spoke out against efforts to the tax retirement savings of middle-class families today, promising “one hell of a fight” during a hearing on individual tax reform.

The Patriot Employers Tax Credit would create a tax credit for companies that maintain U.S. headquarters, pay workers an hourly wage of $15 per hour, and provide workers with adequate healthcare and retirement options. The bill also requires employers to make up the difference in regular and military compensation for National Guard and Reserve employees who are called for active duty. The tax credit equals 10 percent of the first $15,000 of wages earned by each employee.

The Corporate Freeloader Fee applies only to mega-corporations who file at least $100,000 in payroll taxes with the IRS daily for at least 180 days straight. It would not apply to Ohio small businesses. The Corporate Freeloader Fee levies a fee based on the number of employees at a company who earn less than 218 percent of the federal poverty rate, or $26,250 in 2017. The fee increases as the percentages of a company’s workforce who earn less than a living goes up. Companies can reduce fees by providing healthcare benefits and making contributions to employee retirement plans.

Senator Brown has introduced legislation to crack down on corporations who ship jobs overseas. The Pay What You Owe Before You Go Act would require corporations who want to shift their headquarters overseas for tax purposes to pay their full U.S. tax bill on all deferred overseas profits before reincorporating in a new country. He’s also supporting the Stop Corporate Inversions Act, which would close a tax loophole that allows U.S. companies to acquire smaller foreign companies and move their tax home to a foreign jurisdiction as part of the overall transaction to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

Brown made an appearance on CNN's State of the Union this Sunday to discuss the upcoming debate over the Republicans' proposals on taxes, and despite Bash's best efforts to paint Brown as the one who has flip flopped on what he thinks of Trump, did a nice job of laying out what he and other Democrats would or would not be willing to support and what Trump's choices are if he's going to keep the promises mentioned above, or side with Mitch McConnell and the GOP paymasters.

Transcript:

BASH: So, during last year's presidential campaign, you were one of the president's toughest critics. [...]

BASH: That's pretty out of step with your leadership and many in the Democratic Party.

What is your view right now, after having met with the president on taxes? Is it something that you can work with him on?

BROWN: Well, it's not out of step at all with what my party wants to do.

The president's made some comments in the last two weeks when he spoke, when he did an interview with "Forbes" magazine and part of his speech, a couple of speeches he's given, where he says he wants to reward those corporations that -- that pay good wages and do their work and do their manufacturing in this country, and he wants to do a tax break for the middle class.

That's -- that's not what Mitch McConnell wants to do.

And so, when I was at the White House, I asked the president to support my patriotic corporation -- my Patriot Corporation Act, which simply says, if you pay good wages, and you do -- and you don't outsource jobs, you do your production in this country, you get a lower tax rate, and my Working Families Tax Relief Act, which will put lots of -- will put thousands of dollars in the pockets of middle- class families and working-class working families.

And the president's paid -- paid lip service to that. He does that, it's a different tax bill. But he -- it's -- there's a fork in the road. The president either -- either decides to work with Democrats on issues like I just talked about, the Patriot Corporation Act, which he said at that meeting that he likes, or he throws in with McConnell and the billionaires.

And he's -- he's at a fork in the road. If he throws in with McConnell and the billionaires, Democrats don't support it. If he chooses to fight for the middle class and help those companies keep production in the United States, not the bill that McConnell has, if he does that, it's a bipartisan bill.

That's what I have been saying all along.

BASH: So, you obviously were encouraged by your meeting with the president this week.

The question is whether or not you think that the president, based on -- because you had this experience with him behind closed doors at the White House, whether or not you think the president is going to kind of hew to what you and your Democrats want, or whether he is going to go with what, as you say, the Republicans in the Senate and the House want.

BROWN: Well, yes, you walk into the White House, and it looks far too much like a retreat for Goldman Sachs executives.

The people closest to the president whispering in his ear all want to do tax cuts for -- want to do trickle-down economics, big tax cuts for the wealthiest people in the country, and hope it trickles down, and they say it's budget-neutral, and they say it will raise wages.

It's never done that throughout history. It didn't do that from Hoover to Bush to Bush 2 to anybody else.

So, we know what the pressure on him is. But I know what he said in that meeting. And I heard him say that he likes the Patriot Corporation Act and he likes the idea of a real working family tax relief act.

Again, if he chooses that path, Democrats will work with him. If he goes the McConnell way -- and you just saw on this show, when you were asking him those questions, Dana -- if you go the McConnell way, you will end up with tax breaks, lowering the income tax rate for those making over $400,000, cutting -- cutting the corporate tax rate, but doing nothing, almost literally nothing for working-class families.

And that's not what the American people want. There's little public support for that.

BASH: Mitch McConnell certainly made it sound like he and the president are on the same page.

But you're telling us this morning is, based on your private discussions with the president, they're not.

BROWN: Well, I don't know what he ultimately decides. I mean, the president went around the room agreeing with people all over the place during that meeting.

But I look at -- I look at what -- it's clear that McConnell and the president are not on the same page on a lot of things. Look at the clip you ran of Steve Bannon and what he said.

McConnell's in a tough place, but McConnell's chosen to -- to mix metaphors, to sleep in this bed he made. And he's got to figure -- he's got to figure out what he does.

But, fundamentally, the president's got to decide, is he going to go with his campaign promises and his more recent comments, too, about focusing on the middle class, bringing jobs home, not continued tax breaks that outsource jobs, like the McConnell plan has?

Is he going to do the Patriot Corporation Act route and the tax relief -- Working Families Tax Relief Act route, or is he going to go with his billionaire contributors, with McConnell? And that's -- that's the fork in the road. And, so far, the jury's out.

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