House Democrats celebrated the passage Friday of President Biden’s massive social welfare and climate bill, brushing aside threats that vulnerable members will be hammered over the vote by Republicans in next year’s midterm elections.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, a leader of the moderate faction in the Democratic caucus, said he won’t pay a price for the vote because he helped get the state and local taxes (SALT) deduction into the bill.
“If they want to go after me for cutting taxes for people in my district, let them go ahead,” Mr. Gottheimer told The Washington Times.
The inclusion of SALT, an income tax deduction that mostly benefits high-tax blue states, was key to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi securing the support of her moderate Democrats for the roughly $1.75 trillion bill. The bill is a liberal wish list of new education, health care and employment benefits.
Every House Democrat voted in favor of the bill except for Rep. Jared Golden of Maine.
Following the vote, the National Republican Congressional Committee touted a list of 69 vulnerable Democratic seats they plan to flip in 2022.
The NRCC also released a list of what it called “the most unpopular items” in the bill that Democrats will have to defend. The list included:
• A natural gas tax that threatens to increase home heating costs, electricity rates and gas prices.
• An $80,000 tax break to wealthy homeowners in New York, New Jersey, and California in the form of the SALT deduction.
• A $3,600 a year child tax credit that the NRCC said would also go to immigrants who are in the country illegally.
• The hiring of 87,000 new IRS agents to increase audits of taxpayers.
“House Democrats just voted for a bill that leading economists say will make prices rise even faster. Democrats seem intent on destroying our economy before they lose the majority,” NRCC spokeswoman Torun Sinclair said in a statement.
Several Democratic lawmakers from swing districts — including Reps. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Cindy Axne of Iowa — released statements explaining that their votes will help lower prescription drug prices, extend the child tax credit and expand Medicare to cover hearing services.
Rep. Sean Maloney, New York Democrat and chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is among the lawmakers the NRCC is targeting this cycle.
Mr. Maloney said he is not concerned about the vote for vulnerable members in this election cycle.
“They’re proud of the incredible benefits this will bring to their districts, to their country and I think you saw that by their support for the bill,” he said in an interview.
The last time Democrats held the majority and pulled together votes from various factions to pass a massive piece of legislation was for the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
After the ACA became law, Democrats lost 63 House seats and six Senate seats in the 2010 midterm elections.
• Kerry Picket can be reached at email@example.com.
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