Sen. Chris Coons blasted Senate Republicans on the tax legislation they passed early Saturday morning. He also said there's a good chance the federal government could shut down this week.
Republican members of Congress must resolve differences in the House and Senate tax plans. They’re hoping to send a final measure to the president by the end of the month.
But Sen. Coons said both plans favor tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations at the expense of everyone else. He said many senators doesn’t really even understand what’s in the bill because it was thrown together at the last minute.
“This is a nearly 500-page bill. I never saw a copy," he said. "Most members never saw a copy. Most Republican senators never read a copy of this bill and I don’t mean that to single them out. Most senators never saw a copy of this bill.”
Coons says Delawareans are calling him worried about various parts of the proposal. Some are worried about losing the ability to deduct medical expenses. Others are graduate students worried they’ll have pay taxes on tuition waivers.
Congress also must pass a spending bill to keep the government open past this week. In return for their votes on an appropriation measure, Democrats want CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program funded. They also want a fix for undocumented youth bought here as children, sometimes called Dreamers.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it’s not necessary to secure a fix to prevent Dreamers from being deported before March, but Coons argues it needs to be done now.
“Why would we go through with the needless cruelty of ignoring that you’ve got thousands of young Dreamers now living and working here without any protection every single day,” he said.
Republicans have announced plans to pass a short-term spending measure this week to keep the government running while negotiations continue on CHIP and protecting young immigrants. But they need Democratic votes.