Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch has had enough of Democrats accusing GOP senators of pushing tax reform to benefit “the rich.”
In a Senate Finance Committee meeting Thursday where lawmakers ultimately endorsed the latest version of the GOP tax bill, Chairman Hatch, R-Utah, angrily rebuked Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown for again claiming the plan helps the wealthy and not the middle class.
“I come from the poor people. And I’ve been working my whole stinking career for people who don’t have a chance. And I really resent anybody saying I’m just doing this for the rich,” Hatch said in response to comments from Ohio Sen. Brown. “I think you guys overplay that all the time and it gets old and frankly you ought to quit it.”
Brown interrupted Hatch, saying: “Mr. Chairman, the public believes it.”
But a visibly irritated Hatch raised his hand and said: “Wait a minute! I’m not through.”
He continued, “I get kind of sick and tired of it. True, it’s a nice political play, but it’s not true.”
Brown fired back and said he “gets sick and tired of the richest people in the country … getting richer and richer and richer.”
The hearing room, typically subdued, broke out into shouts and yells calling for “regular order, Mr. Chairman, order, order,” as Hatch began banging his gavel on the lectern throughout Brown’s rebuttal.
“We do a tax cut for the rich and the middle class gets [inaudible] over and over and over again,” Brown shouted amid the chaos. “How many times do we do this before we learn this?”
“Listen—I’ve honored you by allowing you to start off here and what you said is not right – that’s all I’m saying. I come from the lower middle class originally and we didn’t have anything,” Hatch said. “So don’t spew that stuff on me. I get a little tired of that crap.”
The explosive exchange occurred during the fourth day of a mark-up on The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which was slightly altered by Hatch to temporarily cut taxes for individuals and ax the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. The bill, which passed out of committee late Thursday 14-12, also includes a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.
Earlier in the day, the House passed its version of a tax bill in a 227-205 vote.
The legislation still faces hurdles in the full Senate. But Republicans celebrated the advance of the bills, claiming they would support the middle class in America, while denying Democratic lawmakers’ accusations that the bill favors the wealthy and big corporations and will potentially leave millions of Americans without health insurance.
Fox News’ Lukas Mikelionis and the Associated Press contributed to this report.