After “bigotry and hatred were defeated at the polls” in Alabama on Tuesday, progressives turned their sights toward defeating the GOP’s attempt to deliver a trillion-dollar tax cut to the wealthy, demanding that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) “immediately” seat newly elected Sen. Doug Jones before a final vote on the Republican tax bill.
Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF), said in a statement late Tuesday that Jones’s victory represents a repudiation of “the Trump-GOP agenda” and implored Republicans to “re-evaluate their support for the monstrous tax bill that will rip healthcare away from millions while raising taxes on middle class families.”
“The Senate should slow the process down and allow the nation’s newest senator to have a vote on this legislation that will affect the next generation,” Clemente concluded. “It would be inappropriate for massive legislation rewriting the nation’s tax code to be decided by a lame-duck senator who was just voted out of office.”
ATF’s call was echoed by several Democratic lawmakers Tuesday night — demands that came just hours after McConnell made clear that he has no intention of seating the winner of Alabama’s special election until next year.
Senate Republicans would be left with just one vote to spare in their push for massive corporate tax cuts if Jones were to be sworn in ahead of a final vote.
In a tweet late Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called on McConnell to “listen to the people of Alabama and seat Doug Jones without any delay.”
“Doug Jones should be seated immediately — before we vote again on the tax bill,” added Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). “Alabama voters deserve to have their voices heard in this fight.”
On Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will hold a press event to demand that Republicans delay a final vote on their tax bill until after Jones is seated.
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) also weighed in:
Majority Leader McConnell must not be allowed to treat Senator-Elect Doug Jones like Judge Merrick Garland. While the election must still be certified, the Senate must follow the will of the people of Alabama and seat the Senator-Elect as soon as possible. #SeatHimNow #ALSenate
— Raja Krishnamoorthi (@CongressmanRaja) December 13, 2017
Moore’s loss in the race to fill the seat left vacant by Attorney General Jeff Sessions was a “humiliating” blow to President Donald Trump, alt-right provocateur Steve Bannon, and the national Republican Party, which ended up backing Moore after withdrawing support early in November.
Now that a Democrat is set to fill a Senate seat Republicans once viewed as securely theirs, the GOP is likely to move even more aggressively to get their tax bill to Trump’s desk as soon as possible, notes Vox’s Dylan Matthews.
“The tax bill has so far relied on speed and the GOP’s desperate desire for a ‘win,'” Matthews writes. “That could still carry the plan through. If Republican leaders have their way, they won’t wait around for Jones to become a senator or for [Maine Sen. Susan] Collins to have a change of heart. They’re trying to send a tax overhaul to Trump’s desk in less than a week’s time. Just in case.”
Ben Wikler of MoveOn.org highlighted this fact Monday morning and urged the tax bill’s opponents to be prepared.
“The GOP will now focus obsessively on passing their tax scam bill before Doug Jones is sworn in,” Wikler concluded. “It’s up to the rest of us to focus just as obsessively on stopping them.”