A new conservative coalition led by former Trump administration advisers plans to launch an up to $10 million campaign attacking President Joe Biden’s economic package as it advances through Congress.
The effort, slated to be formally launched on Friday, is being spearheaded by the America First Policy Institute founded earlier this year by former Trump officials, as well as conservative organizations such as the Conservative Partnership Institute, the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and FreedomWorks.
Leaders of the campaign, called the “Save America Coalition,” met Wednesday night at the Washington headquarters of the America First group located near the White House. They discussed plans to rally more than 100 conservative organizations and draw donors for advertisements and social media campaigns criticizing the Biden proposal in swing states and districts controlled by centrist Democrats.
Conservative alarm about Biden’s proposed tax hikes – which some nonpartisan estimates have found overwhelmingly target the rich and large corporations – has intensified as they move toward passage. Democrats face a difficult legislative path in holding together virtually all of their members in both the House and Senate to approve a plan to spend approximately $3.5 trillion over 10 years on safety net expansions, education programs, and funding to mitigate climate change.
Among those leading the Save America Coalition is Brooke Rollins, who led the White House Domestic Policy Council under Trump and is now the CEO of the America First Policy Institute.
Rollins told The Washington Post the campaign will “include all of our key people to fight on every front,” including Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economic adviser; Linda McMahon, the former professional wrestling executive who led the Small Business Administration; and Russ Vought, Trump’s budget director. Former Trump campaign adviser Stephen Moore is also helping lead the coalition through the Committee to Unleash Prosperity. Kudlow confirmed his involvement in a brief interview and said the phrase “Save America” was his idea for the campaign. A spokeswoman confirmed Vought’s involvement.
Rollins said other senior Trump economic, health, and environmental officials would play roles in the campaign. Chad Wolf, Trump’s acting secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, leads immigration issues for the America First Policy Institute and is also expected to be involved.
“The Biden economic agenda is designed with one goal in mind – to remake America and the principles upon which our nation was founded,” Rollins said. “These policies threaten American prosperity, small businesses, the economic health of every American family, and our standing in the world.”
Biden on Wednesday rebuked critics of the tax and spending plan, arguing his proposal – unlike Trump’s 2017 tax cuts – would be geared toward helping the lower and middle classes rather than the wealthy.
“President Biden was elected decisively last year on a promise to rebuild the middle class by putting places like Scranton ahead of Wall Street and Park Avenue – and, unlike his predecessor, he’s delivering on that by with an economic plan that will cut taxes and lower prices for working families by asking multinational corporations and the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share,” White House spokesman Michael Gwin said in a statement.
“It’s a badge of honor that those same wealthy interests are now attacking President Biden as he advances his plan to invest in the middle class and lower prices on essentials like prescription drugs and health care.”
The House Democratic proposal moving through Congress would approve roughly $1 trillion in hikes on corporations and multinational firms and another $1 trillion in taxes on the rich. These taxes would pay to fund a raft of policies already commonplace in much of western Europe and other industrialized nations but absent in the U.S., such as child care support, government funding for eldercare, and paid family leave for sick workers. The extra revenue would also help fund efforts to combat climate change amid an overwhelming expert consensus that a rapidly warming planet poses an existential threat to the globe and a series of escalating natural disasters.
The Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’ nonpartisan tax scorekeeper, found in an analysis published earlier this week that the Democratic tax committee’s proposal would lower the average tax rate for all income groups earning under $200,000 per year. The analysis found that they would rise by 0.2 percent for those earning between $200,000 and $500,000; by 1.6 percent for those earning between $500,000 and $1 million a year; and by 10.6 percent for those earning more than $1 million per year.
Conservative groups have dismissed such figures and pointed to the strong labor market and income growth for low-wage workers in 2019, the last year of Trump’s presidency. They maintain corporate taxes hurt economic growth and are passed onto consumers and workers by the firms that are affected.
Moore said a big part of conservatives’ effort will be focused on slowing down the Democratic proposal – in part through encouraging activism at the grass roots level – believing that “the more we can delay this, the better.”
“We’re telling donors and other organizations this is ‘the war of the worlds’ for the conservative movement, because we have to stop this bill,” said Moore, who now leads the Committee to Unleash Prosperity along with Art Laffer, the supply side economist whom Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “This is our pitch to donors: This bill is reversing the 40-year Reagan revolution that has really changed the country.”
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