The House of Representatives has taken the first major step toward enacting the Republican tax overhaul with passage of the plan’s House version. It cuts corporate taxes and makes a variety of changes to individual tax rates, deductions and credits.
How did representatives in the region vote?
Every Democrat voted no, here and across the country.
Only 13 Republicans voted against the plan, and three are from New Jersey.
Three of the state’s four Republicans bucked their party leadership to reject the plan, partly because the bill ends deductions for state and local sales and income taxes, which are high in the Garden State.
U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur of South Jersey was the only GOP congressman from New Jersey to vote for the bill.
After the vote, MacArthur was surrounded by reporters who asked how it felt to be alone in his state’s delegation.
“I know it’s good for my district. I know it’s good for the state, and I know it’s good for the country,” MacArthur said. “It’s not that I like being alone. I don’t, but I’d rather be alone and right.”
Rutgers University political scientist Ross Baker said in an interview that MacArthur’s vote might be unpopular with some in his district, but he has other factors to consider.
“MacArthur is going with the leadership,” Baker said. “MacArthur is somebody who wants to be a player in the House of Representatives, and I think that he is willing to take the chance that this is not going to hurt him.”
All 12 Republicans in Pennsylvania voted for the measure, including representatives in suburban Philadelphia districts that Democrats plan to target in next year’s elections.
Franklin & Marshall professor Terry Madonna said Republicans in potential swing districts had to think carefully about the impact of a “yes” vote, but there’s a reason for them to help the leadership enact a tax plan.
“They failed to repeal and replace Obamacare, they haven’t even started dealing with the infrastructure, so this is a test,” Madonna said. “The president and the congressional leadership desperately need a major policy victory.”
This won’t be the last tough vote for Republicans, though. They’ll later have to and reconcile differences with a Senate version of the plan, assuming Senate leaders can get it passed.
WHYY Washington correspondent Matt Laslo contributed to this story.