Blue-State Republicans Push Tax Law Changes

Some blue-state Republicans are pushing for tax changes to help their constituents as Democrats seek to target the suburbs in the midterm elections.

Nearly all of the GOP lawmakers who voted against the sweeping tax-cut bill in December did so because of a cap on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction that would be particularly damaging in high-tax areas such as New York, New Jersey and California. Now that the bill is law, some of those lawmakers are offering legislation to prevent their constituents from seeing tax hikes.

Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), a top target in November, is planning to offer legislation that would allow everyone who prepaid their 2018 property taxes to deduct them on their 2017 returns.

Lance and others also say they still want to see the full SALT deduction restored.

And a number of blue-state Republicans, including those who voted for the tax bill, are calling for Democratic state officials to lower taxes.

The midterm elections are shaping up to be challenging for Republicans. The president’s party typically loses congressional seats in the midterms, and President Trump’s approval rating in recent polls is only around 40 percent.

A number of high-profile GOP lawmakers have decided to retire rather than face potentially difficult contests — including House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), who said on Monday that he would not seek reelection.

Many districts held by GOP lawmakers in blue states were being targeted by Democrats even before the tax bill passed, since Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won or only narrowly lost them in 2016. The tax bill only complicates things further.

GOP strategist Ford O'Connell said that blue-state Republicans are all making the case that they’re fighting for their constituents, though they are not all doing so in the same way.

“They’re not all singing from the same hymn book,” he said.

Read more from Naomi Jagoda at The Hill

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Analysis & Political Strategy