All 14 California Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to pass the Senate’s version of a new budget bill that prepares the way for tax reform.
They did so even though one of President Donald Trump’s proposed reforms is an end to the state and local tax deduction (SALT), a $1.8 trillion boost that would hit high-tax, Democratic-dominated states like California, whose high earners benefit disproportionately from the deduction.
On Wednesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had warned California’s Republican delegation that they would be hurting their own state if they voted for the budget. According to the Sacramento Bee, she called them potential “accomplices” in hurting California taxpayers, describing tax reform as “really an urgent time for the state of California.” She advised them they would have more leverage over the final legislation if they voted no.
But House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) disagreed, telling the California Republican Party convention in a speech over the weekend: “I don’t think it’s fair that somebody else subsidize poor management of California or New York policies…No longer can Sacramento say, I’m gonna raise the rates, just cause I’ll have the federal government subsidize it. They will have to be held accountable for when they want to raise taxes higher.”
Some representatives, like vulnerable Mimi Walters (R-CA) of Orange County, seemed undecided. Capital Public Radio quoted her spokesperson as saying: “The Congresswoman’s top priority is putting more money back into the pockets of middle class Californians … She will carefully review any change to the SALT deduction to determine the impact on hard working taxpayers in need of tax relief.” In the end, however, Walters, too, held the line.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.