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story.lead_photo.caption Josh Mahony

SPRINGDALE -- The federal income tax cut passed earlier this year is the first blow in a one-two punch to slash social spending while giving a tax break to the rich, Democratic congressional candidate Josh Mahony said in a town meeting Thursday night in Springdale.

Mahony and Libertarian candidate Michael Kalagias are challenging 3rd District Rep. Steve Womack's bid for a fifth term. Womack, a Republican and former mayor of Rogers, is a close ally of House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. He's chairman of the House Budget Committee and he also sits on the powerful Appropriations Committee.

"Don't be fooled," Mahony told a crowd of at least 60 people at The Jones Center in Springdale. "This is a plan hatched by Paul Ryan and supported by Womack. First you blow up the deficit by a tax cut, then you come back and say, 'the deficit is awful. We have to fix it.' You say we have to have cuts to fix the problem they created." The rally began at 6 p.m. and lasted until 7:30 p.m.

"He calls them entitlements," Mahony said of Womack and programs such as Social Security and Medicare. "I call them earned benefits." Womack will start arguing for sharp cuts to such spending, Mahony said.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 passed Dec. 2. Last month, the federal Office of Management and Budget projected the budget deficit for the fiscal year beginning in October will reach $1 trillion and will remain at about that level for the foreseeable future.

Womack was also hosting a town hall in Harrison on Thursday night and wasn't immediately available for comment, campaign staff said Thursday. The congressman has addressed the deficit issue as recently as last week in earlier remarks on the matter.

Congress hasn't passed a regular budget during his tenure to date in Congress, Womack has said. The current budget process follows a 1974 law proven easy to bring to a standstill in the current partisan environment, he said. He's House chairman of a joint House and Senate committee made up of equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats tasked with coming up with a reformed plan. The work of the 16-member Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform is probably the most important thing he has been a part of in Congress, he has said.

The committee will almost certainly come up with reforms that will put serious consequences in place for members of Congress if the body doesn't pass a regular budget along with changes to procedure, Womack has said. Being able to come to bipartisan consensus on budgets each year is necessary to not only address deficits but for Congress to function well at all. If the body cannot perform its core budget functions successfully, he has said, it cannot tackle more difficult problems.

Mahony and Kalagias have both said Womack has been in Congress since 2011 and hasn't delivered on such plans yet.

"Neither party has done anything on deficits," Kalagias said. "Both are spending more. We had $1 trillion deficits with President Obama and we do now. Each side blames the other and if you want something to change you have to vote for something different."

In other issues, Mahony pledged support for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Formerly an Obama administration policy against deporting people who were brought into the country by their parents without legal sanction, that policy was reversed by President Donald Trump's administration. The matter is in the courts. Mahony said he favors enactment of DACA into law by Congress. Mahony supports Medicare for all on health care, he said.

NW News on 08/17/2018

Print Headline: Tax cut opens social program attack, Mahony says

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  • Foghorn
    August 17, 2018 at 3:10 p.m.

    He’s absolutely spot on. Tax cuts are nothing more than a back door strategy to dismantle SS & Medicare. Full stop.

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