Missouri candidate Hawley supports tax cut, blasts McCaskill
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley of Missouri on Wednesday said he supports the broad outlines of a Republican plan to overhaul the federal tax code but harshly criticized Democratic rival Sen. Claire McCaskill as an obstructionist to tax cuts.
Hawley told reporters during a conference call that he supports doubling the standard deduction used by most Americans and expanding child tax credits. He slammed McCaskill as being “in the permanent posture of ‘no’” on a tax overhaul he said is badly needed.
McCaskill has repeatedly said she supports tax cuts for the middle class and that she’s open to working with Republicans. She was among 45 Senate Democrats who in August sent a letter to Republican leaders and Trump saying said they won’t support any upcoming GOP effort to overhaul the tax system that delivers cuts to the top 1 percent or adds to the government’s $20 trillion debt.
“This is why it just irks me that Sen. McCaskill, having promised for years on end that she will be a bipartisan senator and work across party lines, she’s doing nothing of the sort,” Hawley said.
McCaskill is among 10 Senate Democrats up for re-election in 2018 in states won by Trump and is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents.
She’s been targeted by Trump as he tries to build support for tax cuts, although details on a tax overhaul still are being worked out. McCaskill met with the president, his daughter Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner last week to discuss tax proposals.
After meeting with the president, McCaskill in a statement said “it’s hard to support something when we haven’t seen any details about what is being proposed_and when the broad strokes that Congressional leaders have outlined would actually leave working families in Missouri paying more in taxes.”
“Claire has been crystal clear that she supports tax reform that provides relief to the middle class, but she will not support a plan that only benefits millionaires and billionaires,” said Meira Bernstein, spokeswoman for the Missouri Democratic Party, in a Wednesday statement.
On several proposed tax changes McCaskill and Hawley appear to be on the same page.
Hawley on Wednesday said he backs ways to cut taxes for the middle class and ending special interest tax breaks, broad goals McCaskill supports. Both Hawley and McCaskill say they support simplifying the tax code.
The two are split on other proposals. Hawley said lawmakers should focus on cutting taxes now rather than on hammering out a revenue-neutral plan that wouldn’t increase the deficit, while McCaskill won’t support a plan that means more debt.
In response to questions from reporters, Hawley also said he did not see Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona’s blistering rebuke of Trump on Tuesday but said he would be able to work with the president if elected.
“He’s the duly elected president of the United States,” Hawley said. “I would hope that everyone would be trying to work with him to actually accomplish things that benefit the American people and that benefit those who are trying to make something with their lives and get ahead.”