Why Democrats Should Help Fix the Tax Bill

Gotta have faith.

Photographer: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call

It's starting to look as if the Republican legislative agenda for this year is mostly about fixing the tax bill passed last year. That's going to be a challenge, and Republicans have only themselves to blame for it. But there's also an opportunity for Democrats to rebuild norms and a healthier approach to legislating while advancing some of their priorities at the same time.

The problem is that the tax bill has any number of drafting errors, along with an emerging list of unintended consequences. That's just normal for any major bill — the much-praised tax reform bill of 1986 had plenty of problems. But an unusually rushed and sloppy process only made matters worse.

In the old days, bills to fix drafting errors — called "technical corrections" bills — were usually passed without controversy. That changed after Republicans blocked one for the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Instead, the party attempted to turn drafting mistakes into reasons to overturn the entire law, or at least make the new system work badly. The former is bad enough, but the latter was really reprehensible – an attempt to intentionally harm voters for the short-term benefit of the party.