President Trump has long said that he would bring his negotiation skills to the table if elected, something that many people scoffed at. However, key Democrats have recently announced that they might be willing to compromise with the President’s legislative proposal after all.
Two centrist Democrat Senators, Joe Manchin (D-VA), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), said that they weren’t ruling out the possibility of voting for the Senate’s GOP tax plan, according to The Hill.
With Senate Republicans facing a difficult challenge in passing tax reform legislation, this unexpected announcement is one that bodes well for the embattled tax proposal. Sen. Manchin and Sen. Heitkamp, both who are up for reelection next year, have not yet decided whether they will vote against the motion to proceed or against the bill in its final phase. They both told reporters that they couldn’t say for sure until they know all the details of the proposal.
“We haven’t seen the final version. We think they’re still trying to find ways to get 51 votes,” Mr. Manchin said.
Although Republican Senators remain skeptical and don’t expect either of the two Democrats to get them to the 51 votes required, it’s enough to suspect that there are some cracks in the opposition party with some figures on the Left potentially willing to compromise.
Mrs. Heitkamp said, “It’s unfair to ask that question” when asked whether she would oppose the tax bill on final passage. “I’ve been asking all along what is it and I still don’t know what it is. It’s still a moving target,” she said.
Other centrist Democrats seem to have firmly made their mind up about the GOP plan, which among other things, promises to cut the corporate tax rate to 20 percent. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), said that “I would vote twice against the bill.”
Mr. Manchin, who has proposed setting the corporate tax rate at 25 percent instead, organized a press conference with 16 other Democrats in an effort to call their Republican contemporaries to negotiate, promising to pass tax reform with 60 or even 70 votes if there was some cooperation.
“The group of us are saying to our colleagues and our friends on the Republican side, ‘Please, we want to work with you,’” said Sen. Manchin. “We all want to do tax reform, we all believe it needs to be done.”
Many of the Democrats who attended the press conference have a history of working with Republicans on policy issues, such as Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), who cooperated on the medical device tax. Mr. Donnelly, who is also up for reelection next year, said that the current tax bill isn’t what he expected from the President after a White House dinner with Mr. Trump in September.
Some centrist Democrats are considering support for the GOP tax reform plan. Are Democrats finally working with President Trump?
“We told the administration our focus is keeping jobs here in this country, ending outsourcing, standing up for the middle class and making sure this does not explode the debt,” said Sen. Donnelly, adding, “That’s not what this legislation is.”
Although the prospect of these Senators voting in favor of the GOP without any concessions seems unlikely, this announcement on its own is monumental not just for this tax bill, but for future proposals. Knowing that there are some Democrat Senators that could be swayed away from their party’s voting line is useful knowledge going forward.