Tim Ryan pushes tax cut to help middle class weather inflation, but he's a 'lone soldier' among House Dems

Ryan, D-Ohio, said in an interview with Fox News Digital that while it’s important to prevent price-gouging and take other actions on rising prices, said the best thing the government can do is cut Americans’ taxes. 

“We have to make sure that there isn’t price gouging going on. I think there are companies out there that are making money on the backs of working people because they can. And I think we’ve got to be very aggressive,” Ryan told Fox News Digital. 

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“But I think the most important thing right now is a major, significant tax cut for working people,” Ryan added, “whether it’s the child tax credit extension, earned income tax credit, and then a general tax credit for working people to help absorb… the pain of inflation.”

U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Rep. Tim Ryan answers a question during Ohio's U.S. Senate Democratic Primary Debate on Monday, March 28, 2022 at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio.

U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Rep. Tim Ryan answers a question during Ohio’s U.S. Senate Democratic Primary Debate on Monday, March 28, 2022 at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. (Joshua A. Bickel/The Columbus Dispatch via AP, Pool)

Ryan’s comments come as gas prices are hitting record highs, inflation is sitting near a 40-year-high and the White House is turning increased focus to the issue. President Biden even released a Wall Street Journal op-ed on the topic Tuesday. 

Perhaps the most high-profile proposal congressional Democrats are considering on inflation is a bill that would give the Federal Trade Commission more authority to crack down on price gouging. But Democrats have talked about several other options, including a federal gas tax holiday, sending low and middle income Americans monthly gas checks, and more. 

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House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said in recent weeks that the House is looking at “four or five” possible policies it could come to a consensus on. 

But Ryan said he’s not been getting much support for his proposal. And a middle class tax cut, Ryan said, would provide tangible help to Americans more quickly than any of the other ideas being talked about. 

“I’ve been kind of a lone soldier here on this issue. I think, you know, a lot of people are getting in the more complicated areas here that… are going to take time, they’re not going to have immediate impact,” Ryan said. 

The congressman also said he’s concerned debate on inflation could turn into a “Washington thing where we’re going to just have a bunch of conversations that don’t actually have impact.”

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, appears at a rally with union workers on the eve of the state's primary elections on May 2, 2022. Ryan is calling on House Democrats to pass a tax cut for the middle class in response to inflation.

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, appears at a rally with union workers on the eve of the state’s primary elections on May 2, 2022. Ryan is calling on House Democrats to pass a tax cut for the middle class in response to inflation. (Tyler Olson/Fox News)

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“They know how I feel, I’ve been very public about this,” Ryan said in response to a question about possible support for his proposal by Democratic leadership. “They know my feelings on it and I hope we can get some support on it.” 

Pelosi spokesperson Henry Connelly told Fox News Wednesday that “House Democrats included significant tax cuts for working families, including the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, in the House-passed version of the Build Back Better Act.” Ryan voted for that bill, which later stalled in the Senate. 

Some experts are warning tax cuts, student debt forgiveness and other policies to give Americans more money to deal with daily expenses could actually be counter-productive in fighting inflation. They say that’s because the average household, with more money on hand, may be willing to pay higher prices for the same goods, feeding into the problem the tax cuts were meant to solve. 

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about inflation and the economy in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus May 10, 2022 in Washington, DC. Biden stated that tackling the rising prices is his top domestic priority and accused Republicans of not having a plan to fight inflation.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about inflation and the economy in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus May 10, 2022 in Washington, DC. Biden stated that tackling the rising prices is his top domestic priority and accused Republicans of not having a plan to fight inflation. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

But Ryan said much of the inflation Americans are dealing with is not completely attributable to too much cash in the economy. He blamed issues like the Russian war on Ukraine and supply chain issues. The congressman added that there are ways to mitigate any inflationary impacts from his plan, and that it’s simply just wrong to leave American workers in the lurch. 

“The problem is food and gas. And it’s been going up and up and up,” Ryan said. “A lot of it is the supply chain, a lot of it is the war. And I just don’t think we can look working class people in the eye and say… you’re the one that’s got to suck it up because inflation will get worth.”

Ryan added: “We could pay for this. We could ask the wealthiest to pay for it and try to take some money out of the economy as well. But I just don’t think it should be the working class people bearing the brunt of this.”

Any plan that comes out of the House, whether it’s Ryan’s or something else, is likely to have a very hard time getting through the 50-50 Senate. And the odds of something like that making it through Congress will continue to decrease as November nears, and lawmakers transition more into campaign mode by the day.  

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