House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) on Thursday appeared to moderate her position about the value of bonuses and pay raises resulting from Republicans' tax reform legislation.
Pelosi had previously called the bonuses "crumbs" and "so pathetic," and many in her party joined her as they made an issue out of the tax law while it was generally unpopular. But since them more companies have announced benefits for their workers and the tax overhaul's popularity has risen.
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Speaking to reporters at a press conference, Pelosi said that Democrats "love" seeing people get bonuses and pay raises, although she still criticized provisions in the tax law.
"Certainly we love when people get a bonus, and if they get a raise," she said. "But if it is so small in comparison—if the choice was made for corporate America and the top one percent in our society, at the expense of working families, something is wrong with this picture."
Pelosi referred to the law as a "dark cloud hanging over the Capitol," using her preferred nickname "the GOP tax scam."
She cited a misleading statistic that "83 percent of the benefits go to the one percent," which would only be true in 2027 when the tax cuts for middle-class households expire unless they are renewed by Congress. Additionally, she said 86 million families will pay more in taxes, but that is also based on jumping ahead to 2027 and assuming Congress will not renew those cuts for the middle class.
"Eighty-three percent of the benefits go to the one percent, 86 million middle-class families will be paying more taxes under the provisions of this bill, a $1.5 trillion tax break for corporations, and further benefits to them to create jobs overseas," Pelosi said.
Corporations stand to save from the tax cut, but the $1.5 trillion figure that Pelosi used is an estimation of the entirety of the tax cut, not just the corporate tax cut as she said. And while Pelosi said the bill encourages offshoring, she ignored the fact that the tax reform law has led to major companies repatriating assets back to the U.S.
Pelosi has made similar claims before, and Democrats have made the "GOP tax scam" a major talking point in 2018. Republicans, including Vice President Mike Pence, have derided her comments as "out of touch" with regular Americans.