Nevada NewsMakers

News - September 11, 2018 - by Ray Hagar

By Ray Hagar

Nevada Newsmakers

Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto, D-NV, said Tuesday on Nevada Newsmakers the major flaw of President Trump's tax cuts is the inequality it sets up between large corporations and the working class.

After 2025, all individual tax cuts are set to expire under the tax policy adopted earlier this year. At the same time, corporate rate cuts are to be made permanent under the bill.

"Why should the hard-working families and their tax breaks and more money in their pockets be temporary when everybody else's is permanent?" she said. "That is my concern."

The inequity will eventually harm the U.S. economy, she said.

"When we give an economy that is growing, tax cuts to the top 1-percent or large corporations and make it temporary for workers, that is going to have a negative impact -- long term -- on that growing economy," she said.

"Let's make sure that everybody has the opportunity to succeed, not just the big corporations, not just the top 1-percent," she said. "Small businesses need to succeed, workers that are struggling everyday need to succeed and that is why it (tax cuts for workers) should be made permanent."

Another member of Nevada's congressional delegation agrees. When the tax bill was passed by Congress last year, Nevada's 2nd U.S. House District Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, also stood up for workers.

"Listen, we need to go and make this permanent," Amodei said, said about the tax cuts for the working class.

Cortez-Masto, Nevada's former attorney general who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016, disagreed with the conservative argument of "trickle-down" economics, where the extra wealth at the top will be spent into the economy, providing wealth for lower-income earners and creating jobs.

Trickle-down economics have not worked for the past three decades, she said.

"Trickle-down economics doesn't work," she said. "With tax cuts for the top 1-percent and big corporations, they are getting higher productivity but that does not trickle down. In the last 30 years, we have not seen that trickle down."

"I was looking at the statistics and we have seen over the past 30 years that wages have been flat but productivity has gone up," Cortez-Masto said. "Prior to that we saw that when productivity went up, wages went up. But that has not happen in the last 30 years."

Yet Cortez-Masto said no bill is currently before Congress to fix the situation.

Cortez-Masto on immigration

Cortez-Masto sees a growing crisis for Nevada business -- from farming to the hospitality industry -- of securing enough labor through temporary visa programs.

"I've heard from the ranchers and the farmers and contractors," about the problem, Cortez-Masto said.

"The challenge, I've seen is that we have worked in a bipartisan way and will continue to do so but we are constantly being blocked by either the Republican leadership or this (Trump) administration," she said. "That is what happened the last time. We were very close to passing bipartisan legislation to protect DREAMers as well as address border security. It was the very legislation that this administration's president asked us to bring to him."

In February, the Senate rejected Trump's framework on an immigration deal, 39-60, according to The Hill. In June, Trump's comments led to scuttling an immigration compromise bill under development in the U.S. House, according to CNN.

"As bipartisan senators, we need to address DACA, we need to address the workers' visas, we need to address TPS (temporary protected status) and we need to address family reunification issues," she said. "Those are the pieces we have worked on in a bipartisan way and we have come to consensus about. The challenge we've seen is, again, this administration claiming they want to do it and then block it."

On the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings

Cortez-Masto has intently followed the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh and is concerned that more documents about Kavanaugh's past rulings and opinions have not been shared.

Even if Kavanaugh was a Democrat, Cortez-Masto said she would "still be complaining about the process" and lack of transparency.

"Our duty (in the U.S. Senate) is advise and consent," she said. "We have these hearings for a reason. We want to understand their background, their experience and their opinions on matters. If they are shaped by their work experience, we should have access to those documents to help us form our questions and ask questions about this individual.

"It is, to me, a lot, about the process and I would complain either way," she said about the transparency issue. "And at the end of the day, I am looking for, particularity on the United States Supreme Court, a balanced court. I want a balanced court that is going to protect the rights of all Americans.

Cortez-Masto wants to have a one-on-one meeting with Kavanaugh. However, it will come after the confirmation hearings.

"I look forward to the opportunity to meet with him," she said. "That is why I am watching and listening very closely to the questions that are being asked. I have questions formulated. I have concerns about some of his background where he came from, some of his opinions, some of the email traffic that I've seen back and forth. I want to be able to ask him in a meeting in my office where he stands on certain issues and that is part of the process."