17 House Democrats threaten to tank Joe Biden tax plan over SALT deduction


Seventeen House Democrats from New York State on Tuesday threatened to withhold their votes for President Biden’s tax proposals if the final plan doesn’t repeal a $10,000 cap on a prized state and local tax deduction.

The 2017 Republican tax law imposed the cap on the deduction, known as SALT in tax-speak.

Democrats, and some blue-state Republicans, have been gunning to restore the benefit ever since.

“At the end of the day, we must fix this injustice. No SALT, no deal,” said Rep. Tom Suozzi, one of the New York Democrats leading the most recent charge.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats currently hold a razor-thin 218-211 majority in the House, giving the party almost no room for error on any bill that doesn’t win bipartisan support.

The new letter to party leadership from the increasing number of SALT hold-outs left the other members a bit more wiggle room than Mr. Suozzi’s line in the sand.

“This issue is so critical to our state and our constituents that we will reserve the right to oppose any tax legislation that does not include a full repeal of the SALT limitation,” the members said.

They concluded by saying they “will not hesitate to oppose” any tax legislation that doesn’t fully restore the deduction.

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Kathleen Rice were the only two members of the state’s House Democratic delegation who didn’t join in signing the letter.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky appeared to grin slightly on Tuesday as he relayed the news of some “no SALT, no deal” House Democrats.

Mr. McConnell said there’s no guarantee Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York, a vocal advocate for restoring the break, can hold all his troops together in the 50-50 split Senate on a package.

“Just lining everybody up and getting all 50 in one place when you’re not talking about COVID relief may be a challenge for them,” Mr. McConnell said.

Republicans say that the deduction effectively subsidizes blue states’ decisions to hike taxes and point out that most of the benefits flow to upper-income individuals.

The Democrats fighting to restore the full deduction said the benefit is a vital lifeline for “middle-class families” in high cost-of-living states like New York and California.

Restoring the full deduction would reduce federal tax revenues, increasing the overall price tag of Mr. Biden’s proposals.

The president is already getting bipartisan pushback on his plans to hike corporate taxes by an estimated $2.5 trillion to pay for his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan over time.

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