Democratic women in the Senate were all for these tax reform principles until Trump proposed them

Women in public office often make women and their families a focus of their work. They put aside partisanship to support positive ideas that are meant to help women in the home, school, workforce, and the economy.

Now is an important moment to unite across the aisle and to encourage their male colleagues to make good on past promises of tax relief to American families. Instead, a handful of female senators on the left -- who once bemoaned our byzantine tax code and claimed to champion tax relief for working-class families -- are intentionally trying to block tax reform efforts. Not one of the 16 female Democratic senators voted to pass the Senate’s fiscal year 2018 budget resolution, which creates a procedural path for tax reform and tax cuts.

But their hypocrisy runs deeper.

In 2014, New York’s Kristin Gillibrand introduced legislation to triple the child care tax creditpleading “If you can’t afford child care, your choice is to leave your job to take care of your children. It doesn’t have to be this way.”  But now that the opportunity to provide relief for moms is here, she’s changing her tune.

She blasted the Trump tax plan as “a cruel joke” and vowed “to oppose this corporate welfare that will harm New York’s middle class.” Perhaps she isn’t aware of the president’s proposed expansion of the child tax credit, which would directly aid middle class families?

This is a missed opportunity: Women in Congress have a chance to demonstrate bipartisanship and leadership that will help women succeed in today’s economy by coming to the table to support needed tax changes.

Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin said of last Thursday’s budget vote, “I believe Wisconsin families need a tax break and that's what I'm working for.” However, the competing tax reform plan that she and Senator Cory Booker, D-N.J., introduced doesn’t offer a lot of tax relief for families, and it doesn’t simplify or change the tax code at all.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., made the case that Congress must simplify our complex and burdensome tax code in 2016, when she introduced legislation to make tax filing easier and free for some Americans. In a report, she explained that preparing and filing returns consumed almost 10 percent of the average federal tax refund.

Warren should be pleased that simplicity is one of President Trump’s four principles for tax reform. Instead she called the Trump plan “warmed-over” and says it “delivers massive tax cuts to millionaires and giant corporations and kicks working families to the curb.”

Wouldn’t eliminating almost every deduction, loophole and exemption advance her goal of creating a simpler, fairer, and cheaper tax filing system?

Lowering the corporate tax rate is another favorite punching bag for senators on the left. This rhetoric might be convenient today, but it doesn’t match up with their previous statements recognizing that America desperately needs corporate tax reform.  

Just this summer, California’s Senator Dianne Feinstein said, “I think one might look at the corporate rate. I think that’s a fair thing to do to see that it’s regionalized and equalized.” Yet, when the Trump proposal was released, she failed to mention the proposed corporate tax relief and just painted the entire framework as “a one-sided proposal that cuts taxes for the rich at the expense of everyone else.”

Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, also once saw the virtue of cutting corporate tax rates and eliminating loopholes, but seems to have changed her mind now. In a 2014 interview she noted, “We’ve made many attempts and been blocked by the Republicans in closing some of the corporate tax loopholes. I mean, I think we all want to lower corporate tax rates, but we want to quit letting certain people get goodies so they don’t have to pay any taxes.” In 2015, she couldn’t have been more crystal clear: “The current U.S. tax system is broken and needs reform.”  Yet she’s also predictably walked away from considering the latest proposed tax reform.  

This is a missed opportunity: Women in Congress have a chance to demonstrate bipartisanship and leadership that will help women succeed in today’s economy by coming to the table to support needed tax changes.

As of 2014—that’s the most recent year when data is available--there were 9.1 million women-owned businesses (WOB) generating $1.4 trillion in annual revenue. WOB account for nearly one third (31 percent) of privately-held firms.

Tax reform that lowers the corporate rate to 25 percent and individual rates to zero, 12 percent, 25 percent, and 35 percent will free up resources for these women to reinvest in their businesses. That could mean implementing a new marketing plan to attract new customers, upgrading machinery and technology, or hiring new workers. Lifting tax burdens are especially important to women-owned businesses because they are more likely than male-owned businesses to rely on personal forms of financing such as savings over traditional loans.

Cutting corporate rates could also increase the average American household income by $4,000 annually. Women manage household budgets and make decisions about expenses, so we know that extra income promises a long-overdue family vacation, bathroom renovation, postponed medical procedure, or braces for the kids.

It’s time for Democratic women in Congress to put down the #Resistance banner and join their Republican colleagues in delivering meaningful relief to women, their families, and their businesses.

Patrice Lee Onwuka is a senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Forum and host of the New Agenda for Black Women blog on Newsmax.