RIPON’S CONGRESSMAN GLENN Grothman, on the stairs above right, attends a White House ceremony celebrating Republicans’ ability to pass tax reform.
RIPON’S CONGRESSMAN GLENN Grothman, on the stairs above right, attends a White House ceremony celebrating Republicans’ ability to pass tax reform.

     Ripon’s congressman, Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, emailed his 2017 list of highlights on Dec. 28. ...

     Among his December accomplishments was helping pass a $1.5 trillion tax reform that he said is “delivering tax relief to American families and workers.”

     Two weeks ago today Grothman told a Green Bay TV anchorman that this tax plan “aimed primarily at the middle class” was “fully vetted.”   

     He’s wrong on both points.

     The plan’s biggest component is cutting the corporate tax rate from  35 to 21 percent, a defensible move competitively speaking as the U.S.  rate was among the world’s highest, although many businesses used tax code loopholes to pay far less. ...

     And fully vetted?

     Grothman has only been in Congress since 2015 but he knows better.

     Normally, bills undergo “regular order.” That is, they truly are vetted via an orderly and deliberative process — committee “markup” meetings and hearings that include testimony and questioning — that enable them to be scrutinized by tax experts and, oh yes, the American public.

     Not only did that not happen here, members of Congress and their staff were caught so flat footed when details were released at the 11th hour that changes were handwritten in the margins of the bill’s pages.

     By comparison, President Reagan’s tax overhaul in 1985 was preceded by  30 hearings of the House Ways and Means committee with testimony from more than 450 witnesses over the course of several months.

     “I want to like my Democrat friends but they haven’t read the bill,” the congressman said, neglecting to add that he hasn’t read the 503-page bill either, as the House voted on it three hours and 42 minutes after it was released. ...

                                                       — Tim Lyke

      To read the entire editorial, see the Jan. 11, 2018 edition of
The Ripon Commonwealth Press.