John McCain is making conservatives sweat.
The fate of a major Trump agenda item hangs in the balance and he could cast the deciding vote.
And McCain is on the verge of a betrayal that would be Trump’s worst nightmare.
Republicans are pressing forward to pass a tax reform package that would see significant tax cuts for middle class families and reform the corporate tax code to spur economic growth and raise wages.
But like Obamacare repeal, the bill’s fate could rest in McCain’s hands.
And this is bad news for conservatives.
McCain has a history of adopting leftist rhetoric on tax cuts and voting against putting more of American’s hard earned money back in their pockets.
He opposed the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts by citing liberal concerns about giveaways to the wealthiest Americans.
The New York Times reports:
“In 2001, as Republicans forged ahead with a $1.35 trillion tax cut, Mr. McCain became one of two Republican senators to vote against the bill’s passage. He said he could not accept that changes to the bill lowered the top individual tax rate to 35 percent and delayed tax relief for married couples.
“We had an opportunity to provide much more tax relief to millions of hard-working Americans,” Mr. McCain said in a speech on the Senate floor. “But I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle-class Americans who most need tax relief.”
Two years later, Mr. McCain voted against another round of tax cuts. In his remarks in 2003, Mr. McCain again cast doubt on the need to use “billions of federal dollars to cut taxes for our nation’s wealthiest.” The deal breaker that time was that his fellow lawmakers would pass such cuts while rejecting legislation that would have allowed members of the military to get tax breaks on profits from selling their homes.
“Politics ruled the day,” he said ruefully.
But Mr. McCain had been a tax cut skeptic well before those votes. After Republicans swept control of Congress in 1994, he was fretting about being fiscally responsible and urged his fellow lawmakers to heed the lessons of President Ronald Reagan.
“I think we would be making a terrible mistake to go back to the ’80s, where we cut all of those taxes and all of a sudden now we’ve got a debt that we’ve got to pay on an annual basis that is bigger than the amount that we spend on defense,” Mr. McCain said.
During his first run for president, Mr. McCain was the candidate of fiscal responsibility rather than tax relief. When debating George W. Bush during the 2000 Republican primary, it was clear that Mr. McCain did not think that the budget surplus should be spent on tax cuts.”
House Republicans already passed their version of Trump’s tax cut plan.
Now – just as with the Obamacare debate – they are awaiting action in the Senate.
McCain has already stated that many things “concern him about the bill.”
And given that the GOP can only afford to lose two votes before tax cuts fail, McCain could be setting himself up to cast the deciding vote that would kill tax cuts and tank the GOP’s midterm campaigns by depressing voter enthusiasm.
Do you believe McCain will betray Trump and conservatives on tax cuts?
Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.