Congressional Republicans had a simple plan last year: Cut taxes, run on the ensuing economic growth, and win.
It didn’t quite turn out that way.
An exit poll conducted by CNN found that half those voting reported no effect from the tax cuts, despite the fact that most Americans did receive a net tax cut. A quarter even said last year’s law hurt them. This tracked with surveys conducted by other outlets in weeks leading up to the election that found that slightly more voters in Tuesday's midterm elections opposed the law than supported it.
Several House Republicans who helped write the law and touted it on the campaign trail lost re-election.
Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., the chairman of the tax subcommittee at the time the bill was drafted, lost his Chicago-area seat. Three other members of the Ways and Means Committee also lost re-election bids: Erik Paulsen, R-Minn.; Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., and Mike Bishop R-Mich.
Others members of the committee who helped write the law fell short in their bids for higher office. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, lost the Senate race to incumbent Democrat, Sherrod Brown, a popular, unabashed liberal in a state that helped Trump win the presidency in 2016. Diane Black, R-Tenn., finished a close third in what was essentially a four-way Republican primary for the governorship of the Volunteer State.
Other members of the panel representing conservative-leaning areas faced closer races than initially anticipated, but ultimately prevailed.
Democrats leaned back on familiar messaging with regard to the Trump administration’s signature legislative achievement, hammering Republicans as giving away money to the rich and corporations while capping popular deductions like the mortgage interest deduction and the federal deduction on state and local taxes paid.
Despite the GOP's promise that higher wages would result from corporate tax cuts, wage growth has also remained relatively flat in the 11 months since the tax law was passed, perhaps muting how much Americans felt its effects.
House Republicans had worked hard to advertise the law to voters. In September, they held a messaging vote to make the law's tax cuts for individuals permanent, removing the 2025 end-date written into the law for budget process reasons.
President Trump, though, gave up on winning on the law as the election neared, and surprised Republicans by calling for a new 10 percent tax cut for middle-class families. Trump said at a press conference held Wednesday that he would be open to "adjustments" to last year's signature tax law, including raising the corporate rate, to offset possible revenue losses from further tax cuts.