Democratic congressional candidate Paul Davis said Thursday the Republican tax reform legislation passed by the U.S. House and U.S. Senate was flawed in favor of interest groups keen on distorting federal policy with high-dollar campaign expenditures.
Davis, who represented Lawrence in the Kansas House and ran for governor in 2014, said in a Topeka interview that neither bill was worthy of his vote. Both bills expand the federal debt and reflect outsized influence of shadowy organizations, he said.
“I don’t know where the deficit hawks have gone in the Republican Party, but you can’t keep passing the credit card bill on to generation after generation,” he said.
In the six-member Kansas delegation, U.S. Reps. Lynn Jenkins, Kevin Yoder, Roger Marshall and Ron Estes voted for a House measure estimated to expand the deficit by more than $1 trillion over 10 years. U.S. Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran embraced a comparable Senate version.
The legislation is being molded into a package by Republicans expected to be released Friday. Votes could occur in both chambers next week in an attempt to put it on President Donald Trump’s desk by Christmas.
“Reconciling the best from the House and Senate bills into a single bill is the next step in the legislative process toward our final goal,” Jenkins said. “I look forward to strengthening the tax legislation.”
Davis is campaigning for the 2nd District seat to be vacated by Jenkins, who declined to seek a new term in 2018. The other Democrat in the field is Kelly Standley, of Neosho County.
The Republican race includes Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, of Leavenworth, Sen. Caryn Tyson, of Parker, and Rep. Kevin Jones, of Wellsville. Basehor city councilman Vernon Fields and Topekans Steve Watkins and Matt Bevens are among the GOP candidates in the eastern Kansas district, which includes Topeka and stretches from Nebraska to Oklahoma.
Davis campaigned with End Citizens United president Tiffany Muller, who is pressing for reversal of the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that concluded “money equals speech” and opened the door to unlimited money in politics.
“In Washington, the people who write the biggest checks get the biggest say,” Muller said. “Instead of doing what’s right for Kansas families, politicians are putting their special interest donors first. Paul is fighting to reform the system.”
Davis said he would support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, require disclosure of all political contributions and close loopholes enabling foreign corporations to funnel cash into U.S. elections. He endorsed a two-year waiting period before former political appointees could lobby the government.