GOP national sales tax talk backfires, as Democrats see political gold

By | January 29, 2023

Politico reports:

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has backed his fellow Republicans into a corner with one of the promises he made to his far-right flank to land his job: opening the door to considering fringe legislation that would replace the income tax with a federal sales tax and abolish the IRS.

Most GOP members appear determined to distance themselves as much as possible from the idea, and McCarthy himself said this week he doesn’t support the legislation. But Democrats aren’t going to let the issue die quietly. They’ve been more than happy to use it as a cudgel to portray Republicans as dangerous radicals.

“You gotta be kidding me. What in God’s name is this all about?” President Joe Biden said Thursday about the plan, saying it would slap a 30 percent national sales tax on “every item from groceries, gasoline, clothing, supplies, [and] medicine.”

Various forms of the legislation, dubbed the “FairTax Act,” have been around for decades and attracted little serious attention from Republican leaders. But a spokesperson for Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia, one of the 21 GOP holdouts who initially blocked McCarthy’s speakership bid and is a co-sponsor of the legislation, said McCarthy promised that the legislation would go through the committee process.

Forcing the discussion of the unpopular tax puts the GOP in a political bind that seems doomed to repeat itself for the House’s slim majority. McCarthy must walk a tightrope between appeasing the renegade factions of his caucus and disassociating the party from policy proposals that could hurt Republicans at the ballot box. [Continue reading…]

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