Tax the Rich

The Democrats' $3.5 trillion reconciliation package would reshape the American economy.

Photo illustration: Soohee Cho/The Intercept, Getty Images


The next few weeks will be crucial for the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, which is central to Joe Biden’s agenda. Pennsylvania Rep. Brendan Boyle of the House Ways and Means Committee joins Ryan Grim to discuss how the bill could reshape the American economy.

[Introductory music.]

President Joseph R. Biden: Each inflection point in this nation’s history represents a fundamental choice. I believe that America, at this moment, is facing such a choice. And the choice is this: We’re going to continue with an economy where the overwhelming share of the benefits go to big corporations, and the very wealthy, or are we going to take this moment, right now, to set this country on a new path?

Ryan Grim: As the Democrats press forward with their $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, media outlets continue to struggle with the byzantine parliamentary maneuvers required to enable legislation to move through the Senate under a simple-majority process. The confusion has led to multiple cycles of coverage suggesting that this or that Democratic priority had been killed, or this or that provision had been approved. But in reality, the bill is still being written, with the ultimate authors picking from among the various pieces of text to pass through committees, ditching other elements, and adding some that never went through the process. The destination for the legislation is the House Budget Committee and, most importantly — finally — the House floor.

That pathway shifts the power dynamic at play. Democratic Reps. Kathleen Rice, Rep. Scott Peters, and Rep. Kurt Schrader have been the focus of significant and well-earned ire for blocking a measure in the Energy & Commerce Committee that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies. And the Ways & Means Committee has taken heat for not including strong capital gains tax hikes in the title they passed this week.

But party leadership can re-insert those provisions through what’s known as a manager’s amendment. In the case of prescription drugs, for instance, it means that those three members’ opinions on the provision are only worth caring about if they are strong enough to drive them to vote the whole package down. And if a member is opposed to the bill entirely — as Schrader has suggested that he is — then what he thinks of an individual provision is meaningless. Only his vote on the House floor matters.

Both Peters and Rice, for their part, are expected to vote to approve the final package on the House floor, having made their stand on behalf of Big Pharma in committee.

Peters happens to sit on the Budget Committee, where he can again register his objection harmlessly, because the rest of the committee is broadly supportive of the drug-pricing effort.

The budget panel is chaired by Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky. He is an outspoken progressive and has recently become an adherent of Modern Monetary Theory. Other than Peters, there aren’t a whole lot of Democrats on the committee to worry about. One member who does have a centrist voting record, Jim Cooper of Tennessee, is facing a serious primary challenge from the left back in his district from Justice Democrat Rep, Odessa Kelly.

The Budget Committee is generally more progressive than more powerful committees like Ways & Means or Energy & Commerce. That’s the result of the structural corruption on which Washington’s political economy is built.

It comes down to fundraising: those two panels have jurisdiction over the economy’s major power centers. Therefore, those industries shower members of those committees with campaign donations. Like a host shaping itself synergistically with a parasite, members of Congress who are most eager for corporate contributions then tend to be the ones who fight for spots on the committee, and they’re the ones who are awarded those spots by leadership.

Naturally, that means more corporate-friendly members wind up stocking the most powerful committees, tipping their politics in that direction. The concentration of those members on powerful committees means that less powerful committees — like Budget, Education & Labor, Judiciary, Veterans Affairs — wind up being stacked with progressives. Under regular order, that situation works out well for corporate lobbyists, but in a reconciliation process that empowers the Budget Committee, it’s a less effective defense against the landmark piece of legislation.

And on the House floor, Democrats can afford to lose just three votes, and both Rep. Schrader and Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida are expected to be nays. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine is always tough for Democrats to get. But one formerly reliable no vote, Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois, was knocked into retirement in 2020 thanks to a progressive primary challenge by the seat’s current incumbent, progressive Marie Newman.

To talk about all this, we’re joined by Ways & Means Committee member Brendan Boyle, who represents a district in the Philadelphia area. Congressman Boyle, welcome to Deconstructed.

Rep. Brendan Boyle: Yeah. Great to be with you.

RG: First of all, for the listeners, I got to get the conflict of interest out of the way. Congressman Boyle’s father, correct me if I’m wrong, came to this country from County Donegal in the 1970s?

BB: He was 19 years old in 1970.

RG: And my own descendants are Boyles, in fact, Boyles on both sides of my mother’s family, which is — I know — unusual, but we won’t do any Irish stereotypes there. But that dates back to the mid-19th century, but there can’t be that many Boyles back in County Donegal, so 200 years ago or so, we may have been cousins or something along those lines.

But the Irish, they don’t get along with every one of their cousins. So, in that sense, it’s not really a conflict of interest, am I right?

BB: It could be a conflict of interest or it could just be a conflict.

RG: [Laughs.] Exactly.

BB: So either way. But there’s a lot of folks from the northwest of Ireland, County Donegal — which is beautiful, but was always historically a very poor area — who came to Pennsylvania. And my roots are kind of the later than most Irish-Americans that you would find. But it’s a not-uncommon story, but it’s kind of amazing.

And, as I recall, I think one of Ryan’s ancestors is Patrick Boyle, which is the same name as my great-grandfather and my great-great-grandfather. So there’s probably a pretty good chance we’re somewhere related.

RG: That’s right, Patrick Francis Boyle came here, out of the great hunger when he was like four or five, driven out by the English genocide,

BB: On that topic, and I know we’re not going into this too much, because there’s a lot of other things going on in D.C., but it’s important to note, because this is always a pet peeve of mine, the term the famine is used as if it was this benign, horrible twist of Mother Nature and that was it.

The potato blight affected a number of countries, including the United States, Belgium, England, Scotland. In only one country was a famine that killed over a million people, and forced another 2.5 million to emigrate. The famine part — not the potato blight — but the famine part was the result of colonial occupation.

And fast-forward to the present day, we can’t be ignorant or naive about the link between politics and what we see happening either in nature or other sort of events that are just described benignly as famines as if politics has nothing to do with it, and why the food isn’t reaching the people.

RG: Mhmm. Yes. Yes. Well said.

And so you’re now serving on the Ways & Means Committee, which journalists are required to refer to as the “powerful” Ways & Means Committee. It, just this week, finished marking up its portion of the reconciliation package, which included the revenue raisers, the tax credits and the tax increases that would then be used to offset whatever spending is done.

BB: Yeah.

RG: On the other side, the most high-profile loss for the White House was not getting what’s called stepped-up basis. In other words, people can continue to pass down vast fortunes as inheritances to their children without those being taxed. If you are on the receiving end of a gift, that’s legally classified as a gift and you pay a gift tax; if you get that gift because somebody died and bequeathed it to you now, you don’t get taxed on it. So do you expect that that could come back in and how did that fall out?

BB: Stepped-up basis is one of these issues that everyone seems to agree is egregious, and a pretty glaring loophole. Even Donald Trump, if you remember, in 2016, was harping about getting rid of stepped up basis. And yet, of course, when he had the opportunity with the TCJA, what they call their big tax giveaway, $2 trillion that went primarily to the richest 1 percent that they passed in 2017, they did nothing on stepped-up basis.

We have somewhat of a reform in there but, candidly, did not go as far as I would like to see. I’m on the bill that Rep. Bill Coscarelli has been pushing for quite some time that would fully reform it.

Now, where do we go from here? Look, there’s still issues that need to get worked out. Within the House, just to get to 218, or actually I think it’s 217 we need at the moment, before we even talk about the Senate, so I don’t think it’s totally dead.

I will say, though, let’s not let just this one issue obscure just how many revenue raisers there are targeting the super-wealthy in this country. I mean, I really think this is something quite historic and without precedent — or certainly without precedent in our lifetime. As the Republicans on the committee kept pointing out over and over again over the four days, just how much revenue we are raising from the richest, richest Americans — and I mean the top 1 percent.

RG: And what are the ones that are gonna pack the biggest punch?

BB: No question, the 3 percent surcharge on those over $5 million, which wasn’t even something that was being talked about publicly. As I think you know, I’m one of the main House sponsors of the wealth tax, which is Elizabeth Warren’s bill in the Senate. And even though the approach the past Ways & Means is income-based, as opposed to wealth-based, I do believe the increased focus in our society on the hyper-wealthy, particularly those who are getting away with underpayment of taxes, or outright no payment of taxes, as ProPublica has shown repeatedly, I absolutely believe that discussion influenced how we got to this 3 percent surcharge on those making 5 million a year.

And then, of course, canceling what the Republicans did four years ago, which cut the top marginal rate from 39.6, down to 37, we put it back to 39.6. And then obviously on the corporate side, the 5.5 percentage-point increase, also brings in just a ton of revenue, about $600 billion.

RG: And I thought making the corporate tax rate progressive was an interesting innovation. Where did that come from? Describe that a little bit.

BB: Pretty late. That did not get much discussion within the committee, but obviously voted for it. I certainly support it. Because you can argue, in fact, for corporations under a certain amount, I think it’s $400,000, they’re getting a tax cut; a tax increase, and a pretty substantial one, is coming on those that are above that mark.

RG: What are some other big ones that are taking a swing at the rich?

BB: Yeah, I mean the surcharge I mentioned, the going from 37 back to 39.6, the corporate tax increase, those are really, I would say, the top three.

There are other sorts of revenue raisers especially on the global corporate side. Obviously, this has been something that President Biden has been pushing for. The fact that we have 132 countries around the world that now are agreeing to finally end the race to the bottom by putting in that minimum global tax of at least 15 percent, that will help us substantially. There’s really very little question about that.

RG: Which is actually, I think, a much bigger deal than people realize.

BB: Yes.

RG: Because the rich had become a cosmopolitan global class before the governments had caught up to them. And countries like Ireland, actually, were figuring out ways — and Delaware — were figuring out ways for them to —

BB: — [laughs] you’re really going after Biden, aren’t you?

RG: That’s right. All of his roots.

BB: Getting Delaware —

RG: — and Scranton!

They’re finding ways to attract — for a pittance in the Caymans, just for the $50 fee or whatever — these vast fortunes that would then be sheltered. But finally the planet is moving in the opposite direction. What drove that?

BB: You know, this was clearly a priority of this administration pretty early on. Secretary Yellen has briefed us on the committee on it, how much time that she spent on this issue to reach agreement.

And the issue is, and I know Donald Trump beat up on Ireland a lot, because that’s an example he would cite. The Irish corporate tax rate is 12.5 percent. I do think that Ireland kind of gets a little bit too much criticism on this, because they are the European headquarters for so many different American companies that do have a physical presence and employ, you know, something like 150,000 people with a highly well-educated workforce. That’s one issue.

Where you have the tax havens, though, that’s actually something different. That’s where someone sets up a P.O. box in the Caymans or a P.O. box elsewhere, has no real physical presence, but they’re inverting or they’re using that and then paying a lower rate. So I actually think it’s a little bit more complicated; I think sometimes Ireland, while they do have a low corporate rate, they’re not really the sort of tax haven the way others are.

Be that as it may, though, low tax-rate countries out there hurt the rest of us. And the fact that we could all get on the same page and end this sort of competition that’s a race to the bottom, I think that’s significant.

By the way, I’ve had this conversation with a couple of my colleagues here. I wish there was something we could do at the federal level to prevent states from doing that. Because I remember when, as a state legislator, a company would threaten to move wherever they were. And then other states would essentially bid on how much money they could throw at those companies to get them to relocate. The most famous example recently was Amazon, right?

RG: Right.

BB: And then, surprise, surprise, they ended up in New York and D.C., or the New York and the D.C. area, but the sort of wild packages they were getting local and state governments to throw their way, it’s just egregious. So unfortunately, actually, that race to the bottom still happens here in the U.S., but at least globally on this, for the first time ever, we’re going to do something about it.

[Musical interlude.]

RG: So having witnessed the Republican tax cut that went through the House so quickly —

BB: Yeah.

RG: — talk a little bit about what lessons Democrats learned from watching that happen. And, in other words, where are the decisions being made about what will wind up in the final package? We call it the powerful Ways & Means Committee, but is what Ways & Means, what Energy & Commerce are sending to the budget committee or sending to whoever leadership is going to work on this, are these suggestions that are going to be rewritten by leadership? What is the balance here between what the committees are doing, and what process is going on both behind the scenes and then in the Budget committee, and in whatever manager’s amendment winds up on the floor in committee.

BB: A couple things there. I mean, first I would say, as far as the Republican tax cut, the TCJA, that they passed four years ago — and please go back and Gallup does a great job of keeping historical data, please verify this, because I’ve never seen it anywhere in print — I know that poll after poll showed that underwater. On average, most polls show the support for the Republican tax cut for the rich somewhere in the high 30s, 40 percent support, with a slight majority actually opposed to it.

RG: Mhmm.

BB: The part that I’m saying I believe is historic about that is I think it is the only tax cut in the history of polling that had a higher disapproval rating than approval rating. Typically, tax cuts are popular. Typically people want them.

RG: I remember thinking that Paul Ryan seemed to be willing to trade the majority for the tax cut.

BB: Yeah, which was — look, I mean, that is remarkable that not a tax increase, but a tax cut — and the other stat I do remember, and was able to verify, is that the Bill Clinton tax increase was more popular than the Republican tax cut. And that shows you a real shift, I think, in the way people are thinking about this, and that is that people know that very ultra rich are getting away with bloody murder when it comes to taxes.

They see the way the last 20 years so much of the wealth has gone to the hyper-wealthy. I mean, forget the top 1 percent, the top half or one-tenth of the 1 percent, that either through legal means and/or illegal means are underpaying or just not not paying at all.

So then when you had a Republican tax bill, when the CBO found that 83 percent of it goes to the richest 1 percent, I think that’s part and parcel of why that ended up being so unpopular. And there were two reasons, in my view, ultimately, why we won back the House in 2018. One of those two was the Republican tax bill.

So I learned the lesson that if you do unpopular things, it’s going to hurt you. And if you do popular things, and the right thing, the people will be with you. And I think that’s clearly the case with this.

I’ve been pretty public, and probably out on a limb, saying that I would not vote for the infrastructure bill unless we we also include with a reconciliation, or basically the Build Back Better Act — paid family leave, universal pre-k, community college — these strike to the core reasons why I first registered as a Democrat in my early 20s over 20 years ago. It’s a big reason why I’m here. This is a historic opportunity. In my lifetime, this is only the second time the window has opened to do really big things. It was open for a brief period in 2009, early 2010, and this is only the second time. And before that it was the 80s, the Reagan era, Clinton had a Democratic majority but it was not really time or an appetite for doing big things. In fact, quite the opposite: It was school uniforms and more small-ball measures. You really have to go back to the mid-1960s, before there was the public really supporting or clamoring going in this big direction. So I think it’s just an incredibly unique opportunity.

And I feel — and maybe you can tell by the way I’m talking — I do feel a sense of urgency about it that we better get it done. Because I don’t know when this opportunity will come again.

RG: What’s fascinating about this moment, and what you just talked about is that — correct me if I’m wrong — you’re both a member of the Progressive Caucus but also in the New Democrat Coalition.

BB: Yeah, that’s right. I can talk about that too. First, I’m not the only one.

RG: Well, let me ask you this, and then I do want to hear the background of that. So the New Democrats, speaking of Clinton, one of the major things they were organized around back in the late 80s, 90s, was welfare reform. And today, they’re among the leading champions of the child tax credit.

BB: Oh, yeah.

RG: Suzan DelBene.

BB: Suzan DelBene is the head of the New Democrats, and she is the point person on the child tax credit and very passionate about the issue. And she’s just been a phenomenal quarterback on this issue.

RG: And it’s just hard for me to get my head around, because it appears 100 percent genuine that the New Democrats are making this a major priority to get the child tax credit extended. This is $250-$300 per child, per month; this is the provision that people keep talking about that can reduce child poverty by 50 percent. This is one of the most transformative things in the package.

So yeah, how on Earth did the New Democrats get there? And how did you wind up with a foot in both caucuses, or coalitions?

BB: I’m so glad that you brought it up, because there’s so many things in this reconciliation package, I glossed over what is the single biggest reduction in child poverty in American history.

Of course, that was passed for one year as part of the American Rescue Plan. And again, this is an error figure, the projection is a more than 50 percent reduction in child poverty because of what we did — already — on the child tax credit. The challenge is that’s only for one year, and we want to make it permanent, and so that’s the fight that’s happening right now, which is part of this reconciliation bill and what we just passed out of the Ways & Means Committee just a day ago.

Now in terms of progressive versus New Dems — and it shows you the way these labels are constantly changing and evolving. And a New Dem today, as you pointed out, is not exactly the same as the 1990s. There are a number of us who were in both caucuses.

First, I think that’s a good thing. I hope — and I think that if you talk to Pramila Jayapal, or if you talked to Suzan DelBene, or Derek Kilmer, they would tell you that I tend to be someone who is a bridge.

I work very closely with members across the ideological spectrum of Democrats. Particularly with a three-seat majority, it would absolutely be horrible if we kind of balkanized into one camp or the other; it’s also not an easy division in that sort of a way. For me, personally, when it comes to economic issues, I am, more naturally, at home in the Progressive Caucus. When it comes to internationalism, foreign affairs, I’m probably more naturally at home in the New Dems. So that’s just, me personally, a kind of a rule of thumb.

But again, though, all of these labels are ultimately frustrating, because I find that, a lot of times, they depend really on the person who’s doing the labeling, their views. I know having the same voting record in the same campaign, I was described, literally as a progressive, as a moderate, as a conservative, as a populist, and as a centrist — all in my original campaign for Congress in 2014 by others with exactly the same voting record.

So, in the end, I would say take all of these with a bit of a grain of salt.

RG: And so the big fight is going to come down on the House floor. If this goes through, before, you know, Alcee Hastings seat is filled, before Marsha Fudge’s seat is filled, Democrats can lose three votes.

And it appears like Stephanie Murphy, your colleague on the committee, and Kurt Schrader, are probably no votes, which doesn’t leave Pelosi a whole lot of breathing room there. Do you suspect that there are going to be any gangs that form around any particular issues that are insurmountable, that say: If you don’t include SALT repeal — I’m curious for your take on SALT and actually how that will wind up — but if you don’t include x tax cut, we’re out, and they stand behind that.

And related to that: Is Pelosi considered in the caucus a lame duck? Because if Democrats hold the majority, she can run again. Like, there’s this myth that she’s term-limited out, but my understanding of the deal that she struck is that she can run again, but she has to get two-thirds of the caucus to support her. So when people think of Pelosi, do they think of her as a lame duck or not, because that influences how much power she has over members.

BB: That is the easiest question to answer: No one I know thinks of Nancy Pelosi as a lame duck. And, frankly, given her experience and how many times she’s been able to cobble together a coalition to get something passed, having someone like her in this position at a moment like this is incredibly helpful. And she’s also someone who has a lot of affection and credibility with a broad spectrum of the caucus. So I think we’re pretty fortunate at this moment in history to have her — and, frankly, even those who might not agree with me on that, none of them would describe Nancy as a lame duck at all. So that’s not a worry or a concern.

I’ve always been of the view, and I’ve said this publicly and I say it privately, it’s not going to be one or the other. We’re either going to have to, in some shape or form, do this all together or it’ll be nothing. I don’t think it’s going to be just infrastructure, but everything else gets cut to the wayside, or vice versa the other way. And I think people have to understand that. I think also that if anyone attempts to really draw a line in the sand that ends up destroying this, there’ll be a heavy political price to pay. I mean, it is on all of our shoulders, we have to deliver and get all of this done. I mean, I certainly feel that pressure; I’ve talked before about how I think this is an unbelievable, unique moment in history, I feel fortunate to be in this position, but I also feel a certain responsibility with it, that we absolutely have to get this done. And by this, I mean the whole package.

RG: And what is the pressure like? What’s it like to be this week, a Kathleen Rice, or a Schrader, or a Peters who voted down the drug negotiation provision in Energy & Commerce, or the Josh Gottheimer’s gang from recently? What’s it like to be a member of Congress going up against your party? Are members like that isolated in this environment? Or are they voicing the concerns of others in the caucus who just aren’t willing to kind of put their name to it?

BB: Hmm. It depends on the person. I wouldn’t say any of those members — I mean, they’re all different individuals, I’m friends with several of them — I would not assume that their votes are ungettable. In fact, I think the votes of most of the people you mentioned are gettable.

Congressman Schrader might be, just ideologically, the most centrist out of that group. So he, for principled reasons, will have concerns about this bill that I don’t share. So I think he will actually prove to be probably the hardest hurdle, or one of the hardest hurdles for us to leap over.

But look, it would be a mistake to attempt to isolate anyone, or do any of that sort of approach, even though I know that for some that might be personally satisfying, especially after the controversial vote this week. The reality is, that would be incredibly unwise. We have such a narrow majority. We have to get this done.

As challenging as it might be, and as not-sexy as it may be, we just have to continue to reach out to people, listen to them do the hard work, and in one way or the other get this done. And I know at the moment it looks challenging, but ultimately I do think we will, because everyone is cognizant of the consequences of failure — both the policy consequences in terms of the negative effects in the lives of so many ordinary Americans, but then also the political consequences. It would be devastating politically for all of us if we didn’t deliver on this.

RG: How hard is it to negotiate this without knowing what the Senate is going to agree to? I understand that it is creating some artificial scarcity and some bickering over: Well, I want that $10 billion for my program, I need that $10 billion for this.

BB: Yeah. My colleague and friend Stephanie Murphy is one person who has raised — that who, when push comes to shove, I’m hopeful and optimistic we’ll be able to win her support and get her to yes. But the concern that she raises, and on this, there are a number who have privately said it, that they don’t necessarily want to vote for something, we get passed in the House, they take what they perceive as a tough vote, and then suddenly, here comes Kyrsten Sinema, and the whole thing is blown up. And I can understand that concern.

So the term that they use is pre-conferencing, which is one of these horrible, Capitol inside-baseball terms that just means getting some agreement before we ultimately put up the vote in the House.

Having said that, though, I’m glad that we did what we did this week in the Ways & Means Committee by showing that we could produce upwards of $3.5 trillion of revenue.

It shows the Senate and particularly a couple of the most centrist senators that we’re real about raising revenue, the House Ways & Means Committee vote to raise a substantial and historic amount of revenue, mostly from very wealthy people or corporations. When we were going through them before, and you asked me about the top revenue raisers, I didn’t even mention the increase in the top capital gains rate going from from 20 percent to 25 percent, or the net investment income tax that captures something like $250 billion. So the fact that we were able to show that and we only had one no-vote on our side, I do think that shows Chuck Schumer and shows other senators we’re serious about this.

RG: And last question: On the SALT repeal, what is your guess of where this reconciliation project lands with the state and local tax deduction.

BB: So this might speak to my overall approach: some issues it’s really hard to compromise, right? It’s a binary choice. Fortunately, this isn’t one of them. So, you have, on one side, a concern that: Hey, wait a minute, if we go back to the way it was pre-2017, and we removed that $10,000 cap on the ability to duck state and local taxes, if we go back to having no cap, the overwhelming majority of the benefit goes to very wealthy people. That’s a legitimate argument.

On the other hand, we know why that cap was put into place in the first place. It’s not because Paul Ryan and Donald Trump suddenly had so much concern about rich people benefiting. They did it to go after blue states; they did it to go after states that properly fund public services, particularly public education.

And so what happens is if you are in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and in Montgomery County, and you were legitimately a middle-class person, the average house in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania has property taxes more than $10,000 a year.

I no longer represent that area, but I used to, and I did in 2017, I would have teachers coming up to me who were solidly middle class people saying: Well, I have a $15,000 property tax bill. This supposed Republican tax cut ended up raising my taxes. So that’s a legitimate concern, too.

Now, where I think we’ll land and the good news is on this issue, there actually is a pretty obvious way that you can satisfy both of those concerns.

If you keep the concept of a cap, so you keep the SALT cap, but you raise it, so instead of $10,000, if you raise it to $20,000, or $25,000, you now will take care of most of those solidly middle class taxpayers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, California, New York, the D.C. area, etc. — and by the way, over time, that will include more places because it wasn’t adjusted for inflation — so raising the cap, you now just helped those people for whom it was a tax increase. However, by making sure there’s still a cap, you ensure that so much of the benefit doesn’t go to the richest 1 percent or one-tenth of the 1 percent, who could be deducting $500,000 or $1 million in property tax bills, state income tax bills, local income tax bills, etc.

And, by the way, within the Ways & Means Committee, there’s pretty broad ideological, diverse support for that approach. I know when I spoke up on it, Lloyd Doggett, who is a very progressive member, voiced support for it, as did Brad Schneider who’s a very moderate member. And I would predict that in the end, that’s where we’ll land because it will provide, again, relief for those people who really got hit by it and our middle class taxpayers, but at the same time ensuring that it’s not, you know, a big giveaway to the richest 1 percent.

RG: I know, I had said that was the last question. But one other: When do you think this happens? You had the Gottheimer crew pushing it for 9/27.

BB: [Laughs.] Yeah.

RG: Is that possible? What’s your guess of when this really comes to a head?

BB: I’m laughing because I have no idea. And anyone who says they know when this is all gonna get done is just delusional.

I don’t see any way it’s done by September 27. You would have to have a bunch of issues resolved in a very short period of time for us to make that. I hope that happens, but I would be very surprised if this were all wrapped up and completed by then. I just don’t think that’s really likely or possible. So I think this will be well into October, would be my prediction.

RG: And maybe Shontel Brown ends up being the deciding vote.

BB: Well, by the way, I mean, how egregious it is that in Florida and in Ohio we have some congressional districts where people are going unrepresented because of the decisions that were made by Republican governors. I know it’s different, but it’s a related topic: We would actually have a bigger majority at the moment.

RG: Right, they purposely kept those two seats empty.

BB: I mean, in the case of Florida, I think until January, just because of, obviously a political decision by Ron Do Santas. It’s one more way in which the other party has shown that it’s walking away from democracy.

RG: Well, Congressman, thank you so much for joining me.

BB: All right. Thank you.

RG: Rep. That was Brendan Boyle, and that’s our show.

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