Congress is on the cusp of approving a massive rewrite of the U.S. tax code that will overwhelmingly benefit corporations and the wealthiest Americans, while ending a central pillar of President Obama’s signature healthcare law. Just past midnight, the Senate voted 51 to 48, along party lines, on a final version of the tax bill, as protests erupted in the gallery, with chants of “Kill the bill! Don’t kill us!” briefly interrupting proceedings. The Senate vote came despite overwhelming public opposition to the measure. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found fewer than one-quarter of Americans think the tax plan is a good idea, while two-thirds of those surveyed say it’s designed mostly to help corporations and the wealthy. This is Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Sen. Mitch McConnell: “My view of this: If we can’t sell this to the American people, we ought to go into another line of work. I think this is an important accomplishment for the country that people will value and appreciate, but obviously it requires us continuing this discussion with the American people.”
All 48 members of the Senate’s Democratic caucus voted against the bill. During debate, Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown opened the doors to the Senate chamber and pointed to lobbyists walking in and out of the offices of Republican leader Mitch McConnell, saying they were responsible for a bill that will enrich millionaires and corporations while taking away healthcare from ordinary Americans.
Sen. Sherrod Brown: “I want my colleagues to think about this picture, this stream of lobbyists in and out of Senator McConnell’s office, this stream of lobbyists from America’s largest, richest corporations, the drug companies, the tobacco companies, the insurance companies, the companies that tend to run this government. I want you to think of that. I want you to think of: Are you on the side of the workers, who are doing the heavy work, who can’t work 'til they're 70, or are you on the side of CEOs and politicians who do the bidding of these CEOs?”
Sherrod Brown’s comments drew a rebuke from an assistant to Senator Mitch McConnell, who said they “lacked decorum.”