clear
Saturday November 25th, 2017 2:35AM

GOP rallies behind tax cuts, despite attacks on Trump

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional Republicans showed scant signs Wednesday of turning on Donald Trump, rallying instead behind their party's tax-cutting plans a day after a pair of prominent GOP senators denounced the president in scathing terms.

"I just think that right now our members are pretty well convinced that we need to put some points on the board, get some wins," said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 3 Senate Republican leader. "So I think the cohesion in the conference right now is pretty strong, particularly on the issue of tax reform."

Thune's comments came after an uncommon day in which GOP Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee openly assailed the president. Flake accused Trump of "a flagrant disregard for truth and decency" while Corker said he was "untruthful" and debasing the nation.

Flake, who says he won't seek re-election next year because a traditional conservative like him has become all but unelectable in the GOP, stepped up his attack on Trump Wednesday. He invoked the 1950s demagoguery of Sen. Joseph McCarthy and said, "You can't continue to just remain silent" about Trump's politics and behavior.

"There is a tipping point. ... I hope we're reaching that tipping point," Flake told NBC's "Today."

While Flake's and Corker's comments produced a day of high drama and underscored GOP divisions, there was no evidence that they'd caused a broad shift that could derail the party's legislative agenda.

"We're all professionals here," said Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga. "These two guys can say and do what they want to do. But right now, we've got a bigger issue, and the bigger issue is to get this tax bill done."

Asked whether Corker's and Flake's discontent could make it harder for Republicans to push their tax cuts through Congress, Thune said, "Everybody gets to vote the way they want to vote, but both of them are very conscientious and principled and want to do the right thing."

Even so, Flake was making no promises about backing the still evolving GOP tax package, which could make federal deficits far worse.

"I don't expect to be voting differently than I would before," Flake said. "Certainly on this tax bill, for example, I know that a lot of us are very concerned about the debt and deficit and want to make sure this is actually tax reform and not just a tax cut."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a Trump critic during the 2016 presidential campaign who's been working with him on health care and other issues, said his focus was on legislative accomplishments.

"I'll stand up when I need to, but I'm trying to get taxes cut, Obamacare repealed and win a war we can't afford to lose," Graham said. He said he's told Trump, "You kick every barking dog in Washington, you'll wind up spending all your time kicking barking dogs."

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said lawmakers must "distinguish between the president's policy agenda and his approach to governing."

A moderate who helped block the party's drive to annul the Obama health care law, Collins said, "There have been many of us for a long time who have had concerns about his approach to governing." She added, "But I accept the fact that he is president now. We need to learn to work better together and respect the roles that each of us have to play."

Trump took to Twitter Wednesday, saying Flake and Corker — who's also retiring — aren't running for re-election because "they had zero chance of being elected."

He also contended that Flake and Corker stand alone, boasting in several tweets that he had gotten standing ovations at a Senate Republicans' luncheon Tuesday at the Capitol.

Other Republicans bemoaned the GOP infighting.

"I wish we didn't have a personal discord. It distracts us from the main course," said Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama. "But it is what it is."

Shelby said Trump had a right to defend himself in response to the criticism.

"I attack you, you're going to fight back, I hope," Shelby said. Pressed on whether it is presidential to rise above personal attacks, Shelby said, "You might ask is it being senatorial, too?"

Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., declined to comment on Flake's criticism, and when asked if Trump is fit for office, said, "Of course he is."

Flake cited the era of McCarthy, the Republican Wisconsin senator whose smear tactics alleging Communist infiltration ultimately led to his censure. In an op-ed column in The Washington Post, Flake quoted Joseph Welch, an Army lawyer, who stood up to McCarthy in a June 1954 hearing and demanded: "Have you no sense of decency, Sir?"

"The moral power of Welch's words ended McCarthy's rampage on American values, and effectively his career as well," Flake wrote. "We face just such a time now. We have again forgotten who we are supposed to be."

___

Associated Press writers Richard Lardner and Kevin Freking contributed.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business, AP Business - Personal Finance
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
10 Things to Know for Thursday
Among 10 Things to Know: Despite defections, most GOP lawmakers rallying around Trump; 'Obamacare' premiums projected to rise by an average 34 percent; pioneer rock 'n' roller Fats Domino dead at 89.
7:58PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Fats Domino stirred New Orleans flavor into rock 'n' roll
Amiable rock 'n' roll pioneer Fats Domino has died at age 89
7:57PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Trump opposes massive California water project
The Trump administration pulled support from an ambitious plan to build California's biggest water project in decades, casting the current form of the $16 billion proposal to build two giant tunnels as another unwanted legacy from the Obama era
7:49PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Altuve, Stanton honored with Hank Aaron Award
Houston's Jose Altuve and Miami's Giancarlo Stanton honored with the Hank Aaron Award as the top offensive performers in each league
7:24PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Trump says Clinton team funding for Russia info 'a disgrace'
President Donald Trump is portraying himself as the aggrieved party in light of the disclosure that the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign helped pay for political research behind a compilation of allegations about his ties to Russia
7:21PM ( 43 minutes ago )
National parks seek higher fees with money for repairs tight
Visiting the country's most popular national parks would get more costly under a federal proposal released this week
7:19PM ( 45 minutes ago )
AP National News
The Latest: Heat still on for Game 2 of World Series
The mercury has hit 100 degrees for the second straight day at the World Series
6:12PM ( 1 hour ago )
On JFK documents, Trump squeezed over disclosure
President Donald Trump is caught in a push-pull on new details of John F. Kennedy's assassination, due to be released Thursday
6:04PM ( 2 hours ago )
Trump, GOP at odds over using 401(k)s to pay for tax cuts
Trump, GOP at odds over using 401(k)s to pay for tax cuts
5:58PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online National News
The Latest: Astros' McCullers starts Game 3, Morton Game 4
Lance McCullers Jr. will start Game 3 of the World Series for the Houston Astros on Friday and Charlie Morton will open Game 4. Astros manager A.J. Hinch had held off announcing the order of his rotation until Wednesday
5:45PM ( 2 hours ago )
Bannon's war exposes GOP donor divisions
Steve Bannon's war on the Republican establishment is creating divisions among the GOP's most powerful donors, even those most loyal to President Donald Trump
5:23PM ( 2 hours ago )
US ambassador to UN evacuated from volatile South Sudan camp
US ambassador to UN evacuated from camp in South Sudan because of protest over leader Kiir
4:57PM ( 3 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Trump hails 'tremendous success' in Texas' storm recovery
President Donald Trump is pointing to 'tremendous success' in Texas' work to recover from Hurricane Harvey
7:12PM ( 54 minutes ago )
The Latest: Brazilian lawmakers block trial for president
Brazilian President Michel Temer has emerged victorious on a key vote in Congress on whether to put him on trial for corruption charges
6:45PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: US urges calm ahead of Kenya's repeat election
The Latest: US urges calm ahead of Kenya's repeat election amid concerns about interference
5:25PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Ivanka Trump promotes child tax credit at Capitol
Ivanka Trump promotes child tax credit on Capitol Hill
4:30PM ( 3 hours ago )
Brazil leader hospitalized as he faces vote on suspension
Brazilian President Michel Temer has been hospitalized with a urinary obstruction as lawmakers have begun debating whether to suspend him and put him on trial on corruption charges
4:20PM ( 3 hours ago )
APNewsBreak: Trump opposes massive California water project
US Interior spokesman says Trump administration opposes giant California water project
4:20PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
FCC plans vote over loosening limits on media ownership
The Federal Communications Commission is planning to vote in November on proposals to roll back ownership rules that were meant to support diverse voices in local media
6:38PM ( 1 hour ago )
Police: Man returns bike belonging to Steelers receiver
Police say a man has returned a bike belonging to Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Juju Smith-Schuster, telling investigators he bought it from someone for $200 on the street
5:53PM ( 2 hours ago )
NAACP warns African-Americans against travel on American Air
Citing a pattern of disturbing incidents, NAACP warns African-Americans about flying on American Airlines
5:40PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
GOP rallies behind tax cuts, despite attacks on Trump
Congressional Republicans are so far showing scant signs of turning on Donald Trump
1:31PM ( 6 hours ago )
Top House tax writer won't rule out changes to 401(k) plans
The head of the House tax-writing panel isn't ruling out changes to the 401(k) retirement program to raise revenue for tax cuts
1:27PM ( 6 hours ago )
Sign-up season gears up as Trump seeks 'Obamacare' demise
Online window shopping for 2018 coverage under way as Trump administration launches 'Obamacare' sign-up season
12:58PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Business - Personal Finance
10 Things to Know for Thursday
Among 10 Things to Know: Despite defections, most GOP lawmakers rallying around Trump; 'Obamacare' premiums projected to rise by an average 34 percent; pioneer rock 'n' roller Fats Domino dead at 89.
7:58PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Fats Domino stirred New Orleans flavor into rock 'n' roll
Amiable rock 'n' roll pioneer Fats Domino has died at age 89
7:57PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Trump opposes massive California water project
The Trump administration pulled support from an ambitious plan to build California's biggest water project in decades, casting the current form of the $16 billion proposal to build two giant tunnels as another unwanted legacy from the Obama era
7:49PM ( 19 minutes ago )
The Latest: Viewers for Series opener dropped from last year
Viewers for the World Series opener dropped 21 percent from last year
7:46PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Vice President Pence to visit Israel and Egypt in December
Vice President Mike Pence has announced that he will travel to Israel and Egypt in late December at President Donald Trump's request
7:45PM ( 23 minutes ago )