WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, surprised some in his party Wednesday when he stated that he opposes the current form of the tax reform bill.
In a statement, Johnson said it is “important to maintain the domestic competitive position and balance between large publicly traded C corporations and ‘pass-through entities.’”
“These businesses truly are the engines of innovation and job creation throughout our economy and they should not be left behind,” Johnson said. "Unfortunately, neither the House nor Senate bill provide fair treatment, so I do not support either in their current versions.
"I do, however, look forward to working with my colleagues to address the disparity so I can support the final version.”
After the statement came out, Johnson participated in a telephone/online “town hall” conversation in which he responded to several questions about his stance on tax reform.
“I don’t want to be against anything … I haven’t said I won’t vote for the final bill,” Johnson said. He added that he is working with congressional leaders to improve the bill. “We’re already making some changes in some respects," he said.
In an Oct. 28 Journal Times story, Johnson told the newspaper's Editorial Board he was close to a bill that would change how corporate tax is paid. He said that has interest in the White House and across the aisle.
However, Johnson also told the Editorial Board he’s been frustrated with how tax reform is being put together.
“To be quite honest, my concepts haven’t been acted on or taken seriously,” he said.
Ryan confident of House passage
Johnson is one of the first Republicans to voice some opposition to the current tax reform bill.
House Speaker Paul Ryan has been vocal about a need to pass tax reform.
Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said Ryan is confident tax reform will pass the House of Representatives.
“On Thursday, the House will pass our tax reform bill to provide tax relief for families across Wisconsin and the country,” Strong said.
“We are confident Senate Republicans will also find agreement on their tax reform bill and pass it in the coming weeks so we can go to conference and then get it to the President for his signature.”
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, who has also opposed the current tax reform bill, said the tax system needs to be simpler and fairer.
“The Republican plan is largely a tax giveaway to the wealthiest few and big corporations, while millions of middle-class families would get a tax hike,” Baldwin stated.
“Powerful corporations get permanent tax breaks and 13 million Americans making less than $200,000 a year will see a tax increase in 2019," Baldwin continued. "The top 1 percent gets their tax breaks and they want to pay for it by ripping health care away from 13 million people, increasing health care premiums by up to 10 percent.”