Feb 14, 2024 - Politics & Policy

House Republican revolt kills New Yorkers' coveted tax bill

Reps. Mike Lawler, Anthony D'Esposito and Nick LaLota sitting in the House chamber.

Reps. Mike Lawler, Anthony D'Esposito and Nick LaLota. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Fresh off a bruising special election loss, House Republicans from New York suffered yet another setback on Wednesday with the defeat of their long sought-after tax bill.

Why it matters: Those lawmakers are trying to notch a win before facing an uphill battle to defend their party's narrow majority in November.

Driving the news: A procedural vote to advance the bill failed after 18 conservative Republicans joined with Democrats in voting against it.

  • The bill would have raised the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap for married couples from $10,000 to $20,000.
  • The vote was the result of a compromise with House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) in exchange for the New Yorkers not blocking a bipartisan tax bill that didn't include SALT reform.

Zoom out: The policy disproportionately affects filers in high-tax blue states like New York, but it also mostly benefits wealthier households – leading to opposition from lawmakers across the political spectrum.

  • "Our tax code is rigged for the wealthiest households & corporations. The SALT bill would make it worse," Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) said in a post on X.
  • The $10,000 cap was placed by a 2017 tax bill passed by House Republicans and signed by former President Trump.

What they're saying: Rep. Anthony D'Esposito (R-N.Y.) said in a statement he is "frustrated" by the bill's failure, blaming "New York Democrats and their allies who are hellbent on scoring political points at the expense of Empire State taxpayers."

  • Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-N.Y.) said: "Everybody has a perspective. Ours is, by no fault of their own, New York taxpayers are overtaxed and they deserve the same middle class tax relief as every American."

The other side: "This majority is so incompetent they couldn't even manufacture a fake vote to pretend New York Republicans are good at legislating," Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said in a post on X.

  • McGovern, the top Democrat on the House Rules Committee, added, "They just lost their sixth rule vote this congress after a half-assed fix to SALT (a problem they created in the first place) failed. Embarrassing!"

What's next: Democratic challengers to blue state House Republicans are already using the vote as fodder.

  • Former Rep. Mondaire Jones said in a statement that Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) "can't even get a vote on an incremental change when his party controls the House."
  • George Whitesides, who is running to challenge Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.), said in a statement: "Yet again, Rep. Mike Garcia is unable to deliver results for this district."
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