Senate Republicans moved a step closer to ramming through massive tax cuts for the wealthy on Thursday after "maverick" Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)—deploying thoroughly "unsound" justifications—fell in line with President Donald Trump and the Republican leadership by declaring his support for the GOP tax plan.
"The fact that McCain voted against George W. Bush's ugly tax cuts for the rich and then voted for this far worse bill—which includes partial ACA repeal—gives the lie to the idea that there's an underlying principle at work here."
—Ben Wikler, MoveOn.org"Though not perfect, this bill will deliver much-needed reform to our tax code, grow the economy, and provide long overdue tax relief for American families," McCain insisted, in a statement that ran afoul of countless analyses showing that the GOP plan would make the tax code more complicated, do little to grow the economy, and primarily deliver gains to CEOs and already affluent families—not workers.
While McCain's decision to support a plan that has been hashed out largely in secret may seem to conflict with his previous demand for "regular order," The Nation's John Nichols offered a simple explanation for the 180-degree turn.
McCain is a "maverick, except when Wall Street calls," Nichols observed.
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New York Magazine's Eric Levitz similarly highlighted McCain's willingness to reverse his stance on issues of principle, contrasting the senator's 2001 vote against the Bush tax cuts with his support for the current GOP plan.
"I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us, at the expense of middle-class Americans who most need tax relief," McCain said then.
Despite the available evidence clearly showing that the Trump-GOP tax plan would do precisely what McCain once denounced, Levitz chided the Arizona senator—especially given that "economic inequality in America is dramatically more severe" now that it was 16 years ago—for handing Republicans a key vote as their bill hurtles toward passage.
"The fact that McCain voted against George W. Bush's ugly tax cuts for the rich and then voted for this far worse bill—which includes partial ACA repeal—gives the lie to the idea that there's an underlying principle at work here," concluded MoveOn.org Washington director Ben Wikler.