11 blue state Republicans vote against tax bill

Many hail from suburban districts targeted by Democrats in 2018.

ByJOHN VERHOVEK
December 19, 2017, 5:48 PM

— -- Twelve House Republicans, including 11 from districts in states won by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, voted against the GOP's ambitious $1.5 trillion measure that would rewrite the nation's tax code.

The 11 blue state Republicans who voted "no" are from California, New York or New Jersey and represent mostly suburban districts that Democrats are targeting in their quest to retake the House in the 2018 midterm elections.

Republican Reps. Darrell Issa and Dana Rohrabacher of California; Dan Donovan, John Faso, Peter King, Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin of New York; and Rodney Frelinghuysen, Leonard Lance, Frank LoBiondo and Chris Smith of New Jersey voted against the bill, H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina was the only Republican from a state that Donald Trump won in 2016 to vote against the bill.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) pounced on news of the bill's passage, painting the legislation as a giveaway to wealthy Americans and promising to use it as an issue in the upcoming midterms.

"Democratic candidates are already running against this tax scam and winning the debate in their communities, and passing this historically unpopular bill will have far-reaching electoral consequences for House Republicans next year," DCCC communications director Meredith Kelly said in a statement Tuesday.

Recent polling on the GOP tax plan indicates that many believe the bill would benefit wealthy Americans over the poor and middle class. In a CNN/SSRS poll released Tuesday, 66 percent of respondents said the bill would do more for wealthy Americans than the middle class or the poor, and 65 percent of respondents in a Quinnipiac poll released on Dec. 13 said the wealthy would benefit the most from the plan.

In defending their votes, the House Republicans who voted "no" cited a new limit on a deduction key to their constituents and their already high tax burden.

"The people of New Jersey already carry an extremely heavy tax burden. They need and deserve tax cuts. Unfortunately, H.R. 1 caps the federal deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) which will lead to tax increases for far too many hardworking New Jersey families," Frelinghuysen, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement released Tuesday. "I had hoped to be able to vote for a pro-growth tax bill. However, H.R. 1 forces New Jersey residents to pay for tax cuts for residents in other states. I voted 'No'!"

Faso said the bill did not meet his criteria of helping "increase economic growth, increase worker paychecks, incentivize small business investment and ensure New York families are better off."

Others — including Zeldin, Stefanik and Rohrabacher — announced their opposition to the bill earlier this week.

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