Speed Reads

tax matters

Things got extremely heated between Sherrod Brown and Orrin Hatch during tax bill discussion

A comment Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) made Thursday night about the Republican tax plan being solely for the rich clearly struck a nerve with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who said he is "sick and tired" of hearing "that crap."

During a tense meeting of the Senate Finance Committee, Brown said he wanted the group to acknowledge that the GOP tax bill "is not for the middle class, it's for the rich." An agitated Hatch quickly piped up: "I come from the poor people, and I've been here working my whole stinkin' career for people who don't have a chance, and I really resent anybody who says I'm just doing it for the rich. I think you guys overplay that all the time and it gets old. And frankly you ought to quit it." Hatch said he was "sick and tired" of the line, with Brown interrupting that he's "sick and tired of the richest people in the country getting richer and richer and richer."

Hatch, the committee's chairman, started banging his gavel: "What you said was not right!" Hatch said it's possible for both sides to work together to reach agreements, and Brown suggested starting with the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which expired on Sept. 30. "I'm not starting with CHIP," Hatch responded. "I've done it for years. I've got more bills passed than everybody on this committee put together." Hatch did tell Brown he likes him personally "very much," but "this bullcrap" really got to him.

The committee ended up approving the GOP tax plan, called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), on a party-line vote of 14 to 12. The bill will now head to the Senate floor, likely for a vote after Thanksgiving. Earlier in the day, House Republicans passed their own $1.5 trillion tax bill.