After Health Care Victory, Senate Democrats Seek Compro…

Despite the overture, bipartisanship will not come easy.

The Democrats are insisting that changes to tax laws not increase the tax burden on the middle class and that the wealthiest 1 percent of taxpayers not see their tax bills shrink.

They also are insisting that Republicans return to “regular order” and not attempt to push a tax bill through Congress using budget reconciliation rules that require only a simple majority in the Senate.

Finally, they want a rewrite of the tax code that does not add to the deficit and that is not paid for with cuts to programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Analyses of Republican tax plans have found that the changes the party has proposed would disproportionately benefit the rich. Thus far, Republicans remain committed to using reconciliation in hopes of getting legislation to Mr. Trump’s desk before the end of the year.

After the Trump administration and the top Republican tax negotiators in Congress released a set of common tax principles last week, Democrats warned that they were going down the wrong path.

“We need sustainable, comprehensive tax reform, not a massive tax cut for the wealthy,” Mr. Wyden said.

As Republicans stumble with their legislative agenda, Democrats have been working to revamp theirs ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

Last week, congressional Democrats introduced an economic program called “A Better Deal” in hopes of stealing some of Mr. Trump’s populist luster. The plan includes raising the minimum wage and reducing drug prices.

On taxes, Democrats tend to favor raising taxes on the rich to pay for cuts that would reduce tax rates on middle-income families. The parties are in closer agreement on changes to the corporate tax system, but Democrats argue that the cuts that Republicans are proposing are far too deep.

Republicans have said that they are open to a bipartisan tax plan, but most of their discussions on changes to the code have been among themselves.

With the failure of their health care effort still fresh, the Republicans could soon change that.

Antonia Ferrier, a spokeswoman for Mr. McConnell, said that Republicans were planning to use “regular order” on tax legislation and that the process would go through the tax writing committees in the House and Senate. She noted that in the statement Republican leaders released last week they invited Democrats to get involved.

“It bears repeating to our friends on the other side of the aisle that the Finance Committee is leading the way on reforming America’s outdated tax code,” Ms. Ferrier said.

The Trump administration has also been more vocal this week about the importance of attracting some Democrats to its tax plan. At a gathering Monday of conservative activists sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, the political network of the Koch brothers, Marc Short, the White House legislative affairs director, made the case that Democrats need to be brought into the fold. The Republican majority in the Senate, he said, was too slim for party members to count only on one another.

“We ask your help, actually, reaching out to Democrats as well,” Mr. Short said, noting the ones who are coming up for re-election. “If they hear from their constituents that they need tax reform, that’s going to be a very strong selling point.”

It remains unclear how enthusiastic Democrats will be to make compromises with Republicans that would allow Mr. Trump to score a major legislative victory. In the battle over the Affordable Care Act, even potentially vulnerable Democratic senators from states that the president won last year held firm in their opposition to the repeal of the health care law.

A spokeswoman for Ms. Heitkamp, Julia Krieger, said that the senator was hopeful that common ground could be found.

“Senator Heitkamp is approaching tax reform with an open mind and she wants to work across the aisle to help make reforms that will grow the economy and support working families,” she said.

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