US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: We’re Standing at the Doorstep of History

We’re Standing at the Doorstep of History
By Sen. John Thune

The term “historic” is a bit of a relative term, I suppose. In most cases, it’s in the eye of the beholder. “History,” on the other hand, is far more finite. It either is or it isn’t. All of the actions we take in Congress eventually become part of history, and many of them, to one degree or another, are historic. With Congress poised to pass the first major tax reform legislation in more than three decades, I believe we’re about to take one of those historic steps that will mark a critical point in America’s history, and I’m excited about what it means for South Dakotans.

The idea of reforming the U.S. tax code is not new. Since I joined the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee in 2011, we’ve held nearly 70 hearings on tax-related issues. In 2015, I chaired one of the Finance Committee’s bipartisan working groups that made recommendations on how to reform the tax code. When the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was in the Finance Committee, we spent nearly 24 hours over several days debating and voting on 63 Democrat amendments to the bill. We spent nearly an entire legislative week debating the bill on the Senate floor, considering amendments and motions from Republicans and Democrats. I’m proud that this process has been open and that it followed regular order.

Is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act perfect? No, it’s not. But in my experience in Congress, the legislative process very rarely, if ever, yields a perfect outcome. Whether we like it or not, that’s how our democracy works. The bill does, however, represent some of the best ideas we’ve considered over the years, and it would go a long way in providing relief to low- and middle-income Americans throughout the country.

The Senate bill would double the standard deduction, which would expand the “zero tax bracket” for low-income Americans and significantly reduce the tax burden for other filers. It would double the child tax credit – welcome news for families that are struggling to make ends meet – and it would cut taxes for taxpayers in all income groups. The bill also makes important reforms to the business side of the tax code that would spur economic growth and create more opportunities for American job creators and their employees.

The House and Senate have both passed tax reform bills that reflect the same broad principles I’ve just described. It’s now time for the two chambers to negotiate a final bill that we can pass and send to the president. I’m humbled to have been selected as one of only a handful of members to help merge the two bills and, by doing so, get us closer to the finish line. I’m looking forward to the work that’s ahead.

Hours before the Senate passed its bill on December 2, I went to the Senate floor to share some thoughts with my colleagues, and I think there are a few points worth repeating. America may have been through a rough patch lately, but she is coming back stronger than ever. America led the world in the 20th century, and this tax bill makes it clear that she is going to do the same in the 21st century. I was reminded of Ronald Reagan’s presidential ad quoting that it was morning in America again. It may not be morning yet, but the dawn is peaking over the horizon. 


10 Replies to “US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: We’re Standing at the Doorstep of History”

    1. Anonymous

      They employ more people than you do, I would guess. Just because they have moral values and don’t believe in Socialism doesn’t make them bad people.

  1. kristol

    How humble you are not to come home and have a town hall meeting to address this tax reform in public.Sounds like your a coward.

  2. David Barranco

    When Senator Thune asks, “Is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act perfect?” I must echo his answer: “No, it’s not.” Yet, the Act includes some very good ideas. Thune is right to say the reforms “go a long way in providing relief to low- and middle-income Americans.”

    One good idea is doubling the child tax credit; that change helps struggling families make ends meet. I also support doubling the standard deduction, a reform which, as Thune correctly notes, “expands the ‘zero tax bracket’ for low-income Americans and significantly reduces their tax burden.”

    Here’s hoping the conference committee succeeds in its mission. We deserve tax reform that reduces paperwork, creates jobs, & spurs growth, thereby helping middle class families (and small business owners) thrive. Next: cut the budget deficit.

  3. Anonymous

    Not only will he be responsible for one of the greatest depressions in our future, he will be responsible for destroying the free internet and stifling innovation. Way to go, Thune. Selling your constituents out for a bit of cash.

  4. Troy Jones

    At the end of the day:

    America stands for freedom and that includes economic freedom to be able to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor.

    A job is the best welfare program and good jobs are most plentiful during economic growth.

    Economic growth is hindered by excessive and poorly designed tax policy.

    This tax reform bill enhanced freedom, the ability of people to enjoy the fruits of their labor, will result in economic growth and job creation, and improved income for America’s lower and middle income families.

    When the lower and middle income American’s lives are going to improve, arguing about who “gets” what and doesn’t is rooted in envy or greed. I’m 100% convinced the opponents of tax reform are divided into three groups:

    1) People who don’t understand how the economy works.
    2) Are greedy and envious.
    3) Hate the poor.


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