Self-branded 'party of the working class' vows to protect tax cuts for the rich

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The self-proclaimed 'workers' party' is looking out for those earning $400,000 and up.

For months, congressional Republicans have been trying to rebrand their party as champions for "working class" Americans. But they are already vowing to undo President Joe Biden's proposed tax increases on the highest earners before they have even become law.

"There's no doubt in my mind that anybody running next year should be talking about reversing what I think are going to be tax increases at the worst possible time," Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina told NBC News on Wednesday, referring to Biden's proposed tax hikes on corporations and on those earning $400,000 or more.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky told the network that if Biden raises taxes now, "we would get rid of them," but Republicans would first "have to have all three branches of government."

Texas Sen. John Cornyn agreed, saying he "would not be surprised" by such a move: "They're the party of big government. We're the party of lower taxes and more freedom. That's kind of the problem with doing business this way on a purely partisan basis."

Republican promises of tax cuts for the uber-rich come after a widespread effort to claim the GOP is the party looking out for working-class Americans.

Last month, Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, chair of the Republican Study Committee, a House GOP caucus, urged Republicans to "broaden our electorate, increase voter turnout, and take back the House by enthusiastically rebranding and reorienting as the Party of the Working Class."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy claimed in February that "the uniqueness of this party today is we're the workers party, we're the American workers' party."

In December, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas tweeted, "Today's Dems are the party of the rich. GOP is and should be the party of the working class." In February, he told a right-wing political conference that the GOP is "not just the party of country clubs," but also "the party of steel workers, construction workers, pipeline workers, police officers, firefighters, waiters and waitresses" — few of whom earn $400,000 for their labors.

Biden ran last year on a promise to raise taxes on the wealthy — and not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 annually.

This would mean a partial reversal of Donald Trump's 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs legislation, which provided massive tax cuts for high-income earners and big corporations while raising taxes on 10 million families. That legislation passed without a single Democratic vote and has been consistently unpopular with the American public.

Despite Trump's attacks on Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign for proposing to undo his only major legislative victory, Biden won the presidency by more than 7 million votes in November and brought Democratic majorities in the House and Senate along with him.

Last month, Biden proposed the American Families Plan, which would invest $1.8 trillion in child care, free community college, affordable health care, and paid leave. Those investments would be paid for by raising taxes on those earning $400,000 and above and by cracking down on rich Americans who underpay on their taxes.

A late April Monmouth University poll showed 64% support among respondents for the plan and 65% backing for funding it through higher taxes on the very wealthy.

But GOP leaders say they will unanimously oppose any tax increase for the rich.

With narrow majorities in the House and Senate, Democrats could pass the American Families Plan without a single GOP vote — if they stay united.

While Republicans could someday cut taxes on the richest Americans again, doing so would likely require regaining the majority in the House and Senate and winning back the White House. That would not be possible until after the 2024 election at the earliest.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Biden's income tax increase would affect less than 2% of American families.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.