White House and Senate Democrats look for common ground in tax meeting

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - An attempt to bring both sides of the aisle together for the sake of victory. White House officials met with some Senate Democrats Tuesday afternoon in hopes of coming to an agreement on tax reform. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) was there. She says there is still work to do.

Sen. Heitkamp (D-ND) says she is not there yet on tax reform.

“It’s not there yet,” said Heitkamp.

Heitkamp is looking for common ground on tax reform. She and other Senate Democrats met with White House officials Tuesday to figure out a way forward on the issue. Heitkamp says meetings like this show cooperation rather than partisanship.

“It’s a real opportunity to air a lot of concerns and see if we can get to ‘yes' on a package that could get potentially 60 votes,” said Heitkamp.

She says the House Republican plan is headed in the right direction toward helping the middle class, but she says she is disappointed it gives more breaks to the top 1 percent. She says she doesn’t have enough information on the effects of the child tax credit or the impact on North Dakota farmers.

“We’re going to continue to work through these kinds of issues, looking at it, again, through the lens of the North Dakota taxpayer,” said Heitkamp.

“The administration has been clear from the beginning that there is no reason tax cuts for the middle class and pro-growth reform for businesses should be partisan issues. Members of the administration will continue to engage with Democrats, many of whom have expressed support for these policies in the past, throughout this process and hope that they will join us in delivering historic tax relief for the American people they came to Washington to serve,” said Raj Shah, White House Deputy Press Secretary.

“For Democrats to just outright reject the current effort would be somewhat hypocritical if they truly want to provide relief for American families,” said Romina Boccia from the conservative Heritage foundation.

She says it is smart for Senators like Heitkamp to take meetings with the White House. Heitkamp is up for re-election in 2018 in a state that President Trump won by nearly 36 points. And the president needs as many votes as possible to get a significant legislative victory this year.

“This is a legislative win that the president wants to get and he will work with Democrats or Republicans, whoever he needs to, to make tax reform a reality,” said Boccia.

House Republicans say they are hoping to send a final version to the Senate by Thanksgiving.