- Sens. Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz discussed the GOP’s tax plan in a CNN town-hall debate.
- The polarizing topic of tax reform has been at the center of Capitol Hill.
- Several times the debate went off the rails, causing the audience to erupt in laughter.
Sen. Bernie Sanders went head-to-head with Sen. Ted Cruz on Wednesday night in a CNN town-hall debate on the Republican Party’s tax plan.
The polarizing topic of tax reform has been at the center of Capitol Hill. Republicans have explored trying to pass a tax bill without Democratic support, while Democrats say they feel left out of a crucial, bipartisan process of governing.
Included in the GOP’s tax plan is a 20% corporate tax rate, the elimination of the estate tax, and a reduction in tax brackets to three from seven.
Cruz defended the plan, saying on CNN, “Republicans want to lower the taxes for each and every person watching this debate.” He argued that a lower corporate tax rate would allow businesses to create more jobs.
Sanders, however, said the GOP’s tax plan was about giving “tax breaks to people who don’t need it,” adding that he supports “a tax cut for the middle class and working families.”
Throughout the evening, the two senators threw several verbal jabs at each other’s expense.
After discussing Sanders’ proposal to raise taxes, Cruz said: “You said if we had this conversation, the American people will be ready to do that … I know that is a verbatim quote.”
Sanders said, “No, what I said was —”
“Bernie, I didn’t interrupt you,” Cruz said.
“Yes, you did,” Sanders said, as the audience erupted in laughter.
“Well, I stopped when you pointed it out,” Cruz said.
“Don’t interrupt me when I’m interrupting you!” Sanders shouted.
At another point, Cruz said that his 2016 presidential campaign focused on strengthening Social Security and that politicians in Washington were “recklessly letting it careen towards insolvency.”
“There are no changes at all,” Cruz said. “Every dollar, every penny of benefit is protected, but for young people, people my age —”
“You’re not so young anymore,” Sanders said.
“You’d be surprised,” Cruz said.
Earlier, Cruz joked about the impersonation of Sanders that the comedian Larry David, the star of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” has done on episodes of “Saturday Night Live.”
“I’m not interrupting you,” Sanders said, waving his hand to indicate he wanted Cruz to hurry. “Come on, come on.”
“You know, as some might say, curb your enthusiasm,” Cruz quipped. “By the way, the impression Larry David does of you is spectacular and uncanny.”
“Someday, you may also have somebody who does that of you,” Sanders said. “You got to work on it, Ted.”
Watch a clip of the debate: