Class warfare back-fires for Ohio Democrat Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah and Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio got into a verbal tussle during the final hours of debate over the Senate’s tax bill, which the Senate finally passed along party lines. In sharp exchanges during a Senate Finance Committee hearing as the clock neared midnight, senators argued over which Americans will actually benefit from the bill. Democrats have claimed that the bill would favor corporations and wealthy Americans at the expense of others. Republicans contend that a lower corporate tax rate will produce jobs and spark income increases.

“That whole thing about higher wages, well, it’s a good selling point,” Brown said. “Just spare us the bank shot, spare us the sarcasm, and the satire.” Brown argued that the bill provides a tax cut that is “not really for the middle class, it’s for the rich.”

Having already heard hours of debate and statements on a bill that Republicans planned to pass on party lines, Hatch’s temper was frayed. “I come from the poor people, and I’ve been here working my whole stinking career for people who don’t have a chance, and I really resent anybody saying I’m just doing it for the rich,” he said. “Give me a break.” He added, “I think you guys just overplay that all the time and it gets old, frankly you ought to quit.”

Hatch continued, “I get kind of sick and tired of it. ... It’s a nice political play, but it’s not true.” Brown argued back, “I get sick of the richest people in this country getting richer and richer and richer.” Hatch -- who chairs the Finance Committee -- raised his gavel and banged it several times in an attempt to bring the hearing to order. “What you’ve said is not right,” Hatch said. “I come from the lower middle class originally, we didn’t have anything, so don’t spew that stuff on me.” He went on to say, “This bull crap that you guys throw out there really gets old after a while.”

The two senators spoke over each other while Hatch tried to restore order. “Listen, I’ve honored you by allowing you to spout off here but what you said was not right, that’s all I’m saying,” Hatch said. “I come from the lower-middle class originally, we didn’t have anything. So don’t spew that stuff on me, I get real tired of that crap.” By working together, Hatch said, Republicans and Democrats, “we could pull this country out of every mess it’s in.”

“Well let’s start with CHIP,” Brown interjected in a reference to the Children’s Health Insurance Program that Congress failed to reauthorize in October.

“I’m not starting with CHIP. I’ve done it for years,” Hatch said of working on bipartisan legislation. “I’ve got more bills passed than everybody on this committee put together, and they’ve been passed for the benefit of people in this country.” “And now all I can say, I like you personally very much, but this bullcrap you guys throw out here really gets old after a while. And to do it right at the end of this, it’s just not right,” he said. “It takes a lot to get me worked up like this.”



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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