Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 economic plan weaved its way into the conversation on Capitol Hill today with both Senate leaders commenting on but stopping far short of endorsing the GOP contender’s plan.
“Well, all the presidential candidates are out talking about what they’d like to do. What we’re dealing with is what we are elected to do,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said, trying to shift the question away from Cain specifically. “The presidential campaign is one thing. We’re pursuing our own interests here.”
Cain’s plan drops the current 35 percent corporate tax rate to 9 percent, swaps the six-bracket personal income tax for a 9 percent flat tax and creates a 9 percent national sales tax.
McConnell said there was bipartisan agreement that tax reform overall would be a good for the nation.
“We’re ready on a bipartisan basis here in Congress to take that up and to try to achieve it again. It’s been 25 years since the last time we tried to bring some rationality to the code. When President Reagan came to office, the top rate was 70 percent. When he left it was 28 percent. Regretfully, in subsequent years, the rates went back up. Big preferences came back in. And it’s time to do that again.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said that he heard a presentation on Cain’s 9-9-9 plan this morning “and there are parts of it that make sense, parts of it that don’t.
“With taxes, you have to make sure that it makes sense,” Reid said. “When you get to [a flat tax], it creates a number of problems when you complicate it with what he’s already done. ”
Reid said it’s a plan that everyone is just learning about now.
“It would be very difficult to put your arms around what he suggested in a few little sound bites in debates,” Reid said. “So I think Cain’s raising this as an issue — look, I understand the frustration of the American people. Our tax system is broken and needs to be fixed. But whether it needs to be fixed that way leaves some concern as to how we would implement that.”