Meet the Press anchor Chuck Todd pressed Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) on former President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, noting that the tax plan could be seen as an “economic failure” since the promises of massive economic growth never came true.
With President Joe Biden proposing increases in corporate tax rates to help pay for his $2.3 trillion infrastructure spending bill, Republicans have pushed back, complaining that the tax hikes on the wealthy will inevitably lead to job losses and impact small businesses. Wicker attempted to make that argument during his Sunday appearance on Meet the Press.
“What the president proposed this week is not an infrastructure bill,” the senator groused. “It’s a huge tax increase, for one thing. It’s a tax increase on small businesses, on job creators in the United States of America.”
He added: “How can the president expect to have bipartisanship when the proposal is a repeal of one of our signature issues in 2017 where we cut the tax rate and made the United States finally more competitive when it comes to the way we treat job creators? He reverses all that.”
Todd, however, pushed back on Wicker’s claims, pointing out that Republicans and Trump boasted at the time that the tax cuts would pay for themselves and would grow the economy at a much faster rate, things that have yet to come true.
“This tax cut that you guys put through in 2017, there were various promises made, that they would pay for themselves,” Todd declared. “Hasn’t come close to that. It was going to produce 4, 5, 6 percent growth. We didn’t even get 3 percent.”
“At one point former President Trump said this thing is going to pay off the debt like it’s water. As you know, the debt is way up,” he continued. “You look at this tax cut proposal, when most of the benefits seem to go to stockholders, with corporations didn’t do what you thought they were going to do which is take the savings and invest. They instead did stock buybacks. Wasn’t this tax cut an economic failure?”
Wicker disagreed with the NBC News anchor, blaming the slow growth numbers on the pandemic while citing the strong employment numbers prior to the lockdowns brought about by the coronavirus. At the same time, Wicker also wanted to let Todd know that “some of these predictions you mentioned I never participated in.”
Todd went go on to confront Wicker on how he would pay for more infrastructure spending, prompting the Republican lawmaker to merely say he’d be “open to compromise” while grumbling about the lack of bipartisanship from the Biden administration.
“If the president wants a bipartisan plan, how can he possibly try to get something passed that every single—that repeals a bill that every single Republican in the Senate voted for in 2017?” Wicker exclaimed. “To me, I don’t see the bipartisan gesture there.”
Todd wrapped up the interview by asking the conservative senator about Republicans’ failure to pass a comprehensive infrastructure plan during Trump’s time in office.
“Did you guys blow it? You had four years to do an infrastructure bill. You had the presidency, you had the Senate and the house for a bit,” the Meet the Press moderator asked. “Did you blow it?”
“No. As a matter of fact, we passed infrastructure bills, the FAST Act on two occasions. Yes, I would love to have passed a larger infrastructure bill. I certainly hope we can do that. I don’t want to do it by raising taxes and cutting jobs for Americans.”
Notably, the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act was passed in December 2015m during then-President Barack Obama’s second term.