U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, has reaffirmed his support for the Republican tax cut as the measure approaches a final vote in the U.S. Senate.
In a conference call with reporters on Thursday morning, Alaska’s junior senator said the bill is key to boosting the amount of take-home pay for middle class families and is important for growing America’s economy.
“I strongly believe that our national economy has to grow again,” Sullivan said.
“I believe the biggest beneficiary of this bill will be the man or woman who doesn’t have a job,” he said, because they will be able to get one with the growth created by the tax cut.
That growth will come at a cost, according to the Congressional Budget Office, which on Sunday said the tax cut will cost the federal government $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years. The national debt is expected to grow by $10.1 trillion during that period without the tax cut.
On Thursday, the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation said the tax cut is expected to generate about $400 billion in economic growth.
Sullivan told reporters that he believes the growth forecasts of the joint committee and CBO are understated.
“I think that we have much more significant growth potential as a country,” Sullivan said.
“I’ve talked to probably dozens of people, business leaders, Alan Greenspan. I mean these are private meetings I’ve had with them,” he said. “I think a number of economists came out in a big Wall Street Journal letter — George Shultz, Martin Feldstein came out. We had Sen. (Lindsey) Graham yesterday, who’s a very well-respected economist. Lawrence Lindsey, a super well-respected economist who’s usually very negative on growth.”
Sullivan said he supports a provision in the bill that removes the federal mandate for health insurance. Under the federal health program known as Obamacare, Americans are required to have health insurance. If they don’t, they pay a tax penalty.
“To me, that is an extremely regressive tax on middle-class and working-class families,” Sullivan said.
He said he has spoken with the office of Gov. Bill Walker and was told that removing the federal mandate would not affect the Obamacare market in Alaska. He added that he believes Congress can pass a separate bipartisan bill reforming Obamacare before the end of the year.
Earlier Thursday, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told reporters in a breakfast meeting that she expects that reform bill to come to the Senate about the same time as a vote to keep the federal government working past December.
Sullivan said the tax cut is still not a sure thing but it has momentum.
“This is a fast-moving target. We’re probably going to be voting on amendments all night and into the wee hours of the morning,” he predicted.
If the Senate passes the tax cut, its version of the bill must be compromised with a separate version already passed by the U.S. House.
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