(ConservativeFreePress.com) – The concept of introducing a nationwide sales tax to replace the federal income tax system has become a focal point for ex-President Trump’s campaign to undermine Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in the Republican presidential primary. However, Trump’s criticism of the FairTax bill, proposing a sweeping reform that includes a 23% nationwide sales tax, hasn’t significantly altered the legislation’s trajectory in Congress. Numerous Trump allies who back the bill remain steadfast in their support.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), a Trump ally and supporter of the FairTax bill, emphasizes that the consumption tax is not regressive. “It is a universal tax rate, leaving no loopholes for the wealthy to evade,” he states, dismissing the criticism as part of the political landscape.
The FairTax bill has garnered enough support that its discussion was included in talks between conservatives and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), while he was vying for the speakership. However, it is yet to be determined if or when the bill will come to a vote.
Recently, Trump’s campaign and the MAGA Inc. PAC, which backs his candidacy, started highlighting DeSantis’s previous support for the FairTax during his congressional tenure. They accuse DeSantis of wanting to impose a 23% national sales tax that would increase costs for families.
MAGA Inc.’s spokesperson, Karoline Leavitt, stated in a recent op-ed that the FairTax would predominantly impact working and middle-class households. She referenced an analysis by the Brookings Institute that suggested the bottom 90% of earners would experience a tax increase under this system. This line of attack is not new for DeSantis; he faced similar criticism from 2018 Florida GOP gubernatorial primary opponent Adam Putnam.
DeSantis’s campaign countered these attacks, calling them misleading due to the lack of context about eliminating income taxes and other related measures. Bryan Griffin, DeSantis’s campaign press secretary, highlighted the initiative’s aim to abolish the IRS and the fact that the proposed system would offer tax relief, contributing to Florida’s attractive tax environment and subsequently, its growing population.
In response to the attacks, the Pro-DeSantis PAC, Never Back Down, pointed out that even Trump had considered the idea of a FairTax or a flat tax. No comment was offered by either the Trump campaign or the MAGA Inc. PAC.
However, Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.), the primary sponsor of the FairTax bill, expressed dismay over the use of the bill in political attack ads. Despite the criticism, he still believes in its potential, asserting that the legislation empowers people to choose their tax burdens. He suggests that a consumption tax would be more popular than a property or income tax.
Nevertheless, the FairTax bill saw one less co-sponsor in the wake of the attacks on DeSantis. Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) withdrew his support for the bill, having mistaken the FairTax for a flat tax, which applies a uniform tax rate to all income levels.
Other Trump supporters continue to endorse the FairTax bill. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) stated that the bill would be more efficient and reduce bureaucracy, but acknowledged the inevitable policy and political differences during campaign seasons.
The pro-DeSantis PAC highlighted the Trump allies who continue to support the bill. Matt Wolking, strategic communications director for Never Back Down, dismissed Trump’s critique of DeSantis, noting that even Trump’s congressional allies are not willing to endorse his stance.
Despite the political disputes, the future of the FairTax bill in the House is uncertain, even with the agreements made with McCarthy.
Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) revealed that even though he was not among those advocating for the FairTax Act in initial discussions, it was part of the commitments made by McCarthy to secure his position.
Some Republicans also pointed out that other promises McCarthy made, such as a vote on term limits, are yet to be fulfilled.
Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) had announced in January that he would organize a hearing on the legislation, but the committee has not provided an update on the matter.
Rep. Richard Neal (Mass.), a leading Democrat on the Ways and Means panel, mentioned that he was not privy to the Republicans’ plans to advance the FairTax bill through the committee. However, he welcomed the discussion, given the general public’s lack of support for such bills. “I look forward to them presenting their tax legislation,” Neal stated, with a sense of anticipation.
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