WASHINGTON – Minnesota's U.S. House delegation split along party lines on the GOP tax bill Tuesday, with Republican lawmakers calling it a boon to the state's economy and Democrats opposing it as a large break for corporations.
During debate on the House floor, U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, a Republican, lamented that the tax code had become one of the most complicated, uncompetitive and unfair tax systems in the world. It led to America losing its innovation, manufacturing, jobs and headquarters overseas, he said.
"But today that all changes," said Paulsen, a member of the Ways and Means Committee, which helped craft the plan. "Today we will pass and give Minnesota employers the confidence and the capital they need to grow more businesses, to hire more workers, to give their employees a raise. This provides middle-income families with tax cuts they need to save for their future and improve their standard of living."
GOP U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis also praised the bill, saying that families would see more money in their paychecks in the new year. "But we still have more work to do in moving toward flatter and fairer taxes," Lewis said in a statement.
Rep. Tom Emmer also backed the bill. Minnesota's House Democrats — Reps. Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, Collin Peterson, Rick Nolan and Tim Walz voted against it.
Early Wednesday, the Senate passed the bill on a straight party-line vote with Minnesota Democrats Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Al Franken voting against it. The House also has to take one final vote on the measure on Wednesday.
"The simple truth is, the Republican tax bill is an underhanded and unconscionable attack on America's middle class — the very people who constitute the foundation of our nation's greatness," Nolan said.
McCollum lambasted the legislation for paying for a "deficit-exploding giveaway to big corporations and billionaires."