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'There You Have It': McConnell Says He 'Misspoke' When He Promised No Tax Hike on Middle Class

A New York Times analysis published Friday found that millions of middle class families would see their taxes rise under GOP plan

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) talks to reporters following the weekly Republican policy luncheon in the U.S. Capitol November 7, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Following the release of a slew of analyses showing that the GOP tax plan would raise taxes on many middle class families—despite repeated promises to the contrary by the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) conceded in an interview with the New York Times Friday that he "misspoke" when he declared last week that "nobody in the middle class is going to get a tax increase."

"'I misspoke' is the thing you say when you can't get away with lying anymore."
—Judd Legum, ThinkProgress

"I misspoke on that," McConnell told Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg‏. "You can't guarantee that absolutely no one sees a tax increase, but what we are doing is targeting levels of income and looking at the average in those levels and the average will be tax relief for the average taxpayer in each of those segments."

McConnell's reversal on a talking point that has become a mainstay for Republicans over the last several months as they attempt to sell their tax proposals to a skeptical public comes just 24 hours after the Senate unveiled its own tax plan. Like the House version, the Senate bill calls for massive tax cuts for wealthy Americans and large corporations.

A Times analysis published Friday found that while middle class Americans would fare better under the Senate's plan than the House's, "both bills would disproportionately benefit high earners and corporations and raise taxes on millions of middle class families."

The analysis continued:

The Senate bill appears much better for the very wealthy than it is for the somewhat wealthy. About half of families earning between two and three times the median income—or about $160,000 to $240,000 for a family of three—would pay more in 2018 than under existing law. But among the richest families, those earning more than about $500,000 for a family of three, nearly 90 percent would get a tax cut.

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McConnell's insistence that he "misspoke" in confidently declaring that no one in the middle class would see their taxes rise under the GOP plan was immediately seized upon by critics who have long seen through Republicans' characterization of their bill as pro-middle class.

"'I misspoke' is the thing you say when you can't get away with lying anymore," wrote Judd Legum of ThinkProgress.

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