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Sen. Carper sees some possible common ground on tax changes

Delaware Public Media
Sen. Tom Carper

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Delaware) says he’s still evaluating the Senate tax legislation being proposed by Republicans. The proposal could be voted on as early as this upcoming week.

The Senate Republican tax plan lowers the corporate tax rate. It also eliminates deductions for state and local taxes, and repeals the requirement that Americans buy health insurance or pay a penalty.

Carper said there are things in the measure that could get Democrats’ support - like doubling the standard deduction and lowering taxes for large businesses. But he’s concerned that the legislation could raise taxes on the middle class and that it may primarily benefit the rich.

“If the bill does not do what the president says - does not provide for middle-income families, it only provides largely tax cuts for wealthier families, that’s a problem," he said. "That’s not what the president says he wants, I don’t think that’s what most Americans want.”

Carper also said he doesn’t support dropping the individual mandate.

“What it does is it further destabilizes the exchanges in all 50 states," he said. "That’s not good, that’s not smart. And we can’t let that happen."

Some studies of the Senate tax proposal argue it will actually increase taxes for poor and working class Americans by 2027. And while the tax cuts for corporations would be permanent - individual tax cuts would expire after 2025.

Carper told CNN on Wednesday that he was part of a conference call discussing the tax plan with President Trump while he was in Asia. Carper said he told a Trump aide to fake a bad connection with Trump to get him off the phone. The White House disputes that claim.

Carper said he expects Congress will pass a budget for the next fiscal year. He hopes it will also stabilize health care exchanges, renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program and stop young undocumented people from being deported.

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