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Home Depot co-founder to GOP: Pass tax reform or lose Congress

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., center, with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and other GOP members as they talk about the Republicans' proposed rewrite of the tax code for individuals and corporations, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus is issuing a stern warning to Republicans in Congress who have been hesitant to embrace the party’s tax reform framework that their jobs may depend on its passage.

“They haven’t shown that unity and its about time that they circle the wagon and pass something for the American people,” Marcus said in an interview Wednesday.

Republican leaders and President Donald Trump recently released the broad outline of what would be the first significant tax reform measure in 31 years, but some within the party have balked at the potential cost of it. According to Marcus, their pursuit of perfection is endangering the party’s hold on Congress.

“If they don’t get it done this year and they don’t pass it before the 2018 election,” he said, “I can promise you that Nancy Pelosi will be the speaker of the House and Chuck Schumer will be majority leader of the Senate. You want to see money go down the drain and you want to see deficits go up, you just let those two loose.”

Given that alternative of Democratic control, he argued the possible future impact on the deficit is secondary, in addition to being difficult to accurately predict.

“The question is how much is this going to benefit America, not what the cost is going to be,” he said.

Marcus dismissed complaints from the left that the tax cuts are too heavily weighted toward the top earners as “utter nonsense.”

“This whole mantra of ‘the rich are going to get richer,’ I don’t care what you do. The rich are going to get more money,” he said.

Since the wealthy pay most of the taxes, he argued it is impossible to craft an effective tax reform bill that does not leave them with more money.

“You cannot see jobs created if people who run businesses don’t make any money,” he said.

With most working Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck, the Republican plan would provide cuts for many of them as well.

“Wouldn’t you rather see it in their paycheck than give it to the senators and the members of the House?” he asked. “I would trust the American people better.”

Marcus is unconvinced by a new CNN poll showing that 52 percent of Americans oppose Trump’s tax reform plan and only 34 percent support it.

“I don’t believe the number, first of all,” he said. “We really don’t know what the tax plan is.”

The framework leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Once Republicans settle on final figures and it becomes clear how people would benefit from these cuts, he believes opinions will change.

His organization, the Job Creators Network, has drafted an online petition in support of tax reform that has already garnered 120,000 signatures. They eventually plan to bring the signed petition to Capitol Hill.

In the meantime, Marcus urged libertarians and deficit hawks to heed his words and understand their options.

“Passing something that’s passable is better than not doing anything and allowing this Congress to go over to Nancy Pelosi,” he said.

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