House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and many of her Democratic colleagues have a history of attacking former President Donald Trump’s tax policies, which they claim standed only to benefit America’s wealthiest citizens.
However, in a reversal of her anti-wealthy beliefs and increased pressure from a number of blue-state Democrats, Pelosi signaled this week that she’s open to including language in President Joe Biden’s upcoming infrastructure bill to lift what’s known as the SALT tax cap, which would only serve to benefit wealthy individuals in highly-taxed states, such as New Jersey and New York, according to Fox Business.
A number of Democrats who represent states in which wealthy constituents would benefit from repealing the SALT cap reportedly threatened to withdraw support for Biden’s upcoming $2.25 trillion infrastructure bill unless they work in language that lifts the Trump-era cap on what taxpayers who itemize can deduct in the form of state and local taxes.
Pelosi said that she’s “sympathetic” to some of her colleagues’ concerns with the SALT cap, suggesting that she would support the ability to have it lifted.
But one could easily argue that her sudden interest in making that happen is nothing more than a political numbers game. Given her extremely narrow hold of majority power in the lower chamber, Pelosi cannot afford to lose any votes for Biden’s bill from her side of the political aisle.
The same situation will unfold in the Senate, as with a 50-50 split of power, Democrats cannot afford to lose even a single Democratic vote, even if they use the budget reconciliation method — which only requires a simple majority vote — to pass Biden’s bill. The margins are too slim to risk it.
The slim margins are why moderate Democrats in the House and Senate, like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), hold so much influence and power at this point in time. The moderates are the only ones keeping Democrats from going full-on radical progressive and cramming through as much legislation as they can.
The Joint Committee on Taxation made clear that repealing the SALT cap would benefit the wealthy, blue-state Americans who comprise the ranks of the one percent of wealthiest people, which is why blue-state Democrats are pushing Pelosi to make it happen. It’s all politics, as usual.
Only time will tell if Pelosi buckles to the internal party pressure, but if she want to make Biden happy and get his infrastructure bill passed out of the House without issues, then it looks as if she’ll have no choice but to fold.