共和党内部唯一反对税改法案的参议员是谁?

当地时间上周六(12月2日)凌晨,美国参议院以51比49的投票结果通过了共和党的税改法案。共和党人在参议院中占据52个席位,其中,只有来自田纳西州的参议员寇尔科(Bob Corker)投了反对票。

寇尔科在上周五发表声明称,自己向来拥护税收改革,但不会支持参议院投票表决的这份法案,因为该法案将为已经快速增长到20万亿美元的美国财政赤字增添新的负担。在当前版本的法案中,美国财政赤字将在税改后额外增加1万亿美元。

但寇尔科的反对已经无法阻拦税改法案在参议院获得通过。不过据《华盛顿邮报》报道,寇尔科原本在几天前拥有一个阻拦税改的更好机会。

上周二,在参议院内部的预算委员会投票时,寇尔科选择让税改法案通过,税改法案因此以12票对11票的微弱优势进入全体投票环节。

不过,即使寇尔科在预算委员会内部投票时便反对税改通过,参议院多数党领袖麦康奈尔也可动用特权让税改进入全体投票环节。然而,假如税改进入这一步,它就不再是参议院的“常规决议”(regular order),而失去“常规决议”身份的税改会陷入了更加危险的境地,或许将失去更多共和党人的支持。今年夏天,共和党参议员麦凯恩否决了废除奥巴马医保的决议,而他的理由之一便是废除决议没有“常规决议”的身份。

因此,寇尔科在预算委员会内部给予税改通过便显得匪夷所思。而他这样做的理由其实很简单:据《华盛顿邮报》文章介绍,寇尔科原本认为参议员们会在最后时刻增加触发条款,即确保在经济增幅达不到共和党的预期时征收额外税收来保证财政稳定,并赢得包括他在内的所有共和党参议员的支持。

事实上,参议院共和党在最后投票之前确实对税改方案进行了一系列修改,其中包括增加了一项价值达1万美元的房地产税减免,目的是为了“安抚”来自缅因州的共和党参议员柯林斯(Susan Collins)。同时,寇尔科的鹰派同僚、亚利桑那州参议员Jeff Flake在本周五早上倒戈,宣布支持税改法案。

到了上周五上午,共和党意识到,税改已经获得了足够的支持,额外的触发条款已经不会影响税改的通过时,这个想法便遭到抛弃,寇尔科也就成为唯一的反对者。

回溯过去,寇尔科原本是特朗普竞选总统的早期支持者之一,两人同样的商界背景也让寇尔科成为少数与特朗普有私交的参议员。然而到了今年特朗普上任以来,寇尔科对特朗普的一些行为和政策越来越不满,例如他在8月广受指责的针对极右翼集会冲突的回应等。因此,寇尔科逐渐成为共和党内特朗普最大的批判者之一。

今年9月,寇尔科宣布将卸任参议员,任满后不再参加明年举行的美国中期选举。对此,特朗普称寇尔科恳求他的支持,而且“没有勇气”再次竞选,这些言论让后者气愤不已。寇尔科随后发推特回击特朗普称,“白宫俨然已经成为一个成人日托中心,真是颜面尽失。”

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