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Democrat Nancy Pelosi visits Phoenix for tax town hall

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi’s quest to repeal the Republican tax bill brought her to a Phoenix town hall Tuesday morning.

Pelosi spoke at Events on Jackson in downtown Phoenix at 10 a.m. The event was free and open to the public.

The Democratic leader told about 100 people at a town hall-style event that Republican leaders intend to cut social security, Medicaid and Medicare to pay for the $2.2 trillion in cuts enacted in December.

“The national budget is a statement of our national values, of what’s important to us as a nation, makes us strong and builds the future,” Pelosi said.

“They said we’re going to have cut Medicare and Medicare, because we’ve now increased the deficit, the national debt. So, is that a statement of values for us as a country?”

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) joined the minority leader. He said Republicans who have long held that government is too large have set up “a self-fulfilling prophesy,” by growing the deficit by $2.2 trillion over a decade.

“And because of that now we have to look at, suddenly the realization will come, that we have a deficit created by this tax cut,” Grijalva said.

“Now we move into the second phase of the self-fulfilling prophesy, which is `let’s get back to balancing the budget.’ We’ll go back to that fiscal hawk discussion that we’re supposed to have.”

Pelosi was briefly heckled by a woman in the mainly friendly audience who loudly asked about her net worth while Pelosi spoke of “kitchen table issues” affecting ordinary Americans.

The San Francisco Democrat, one of the wealthiest House members, wasn’t taking it.

“I’m a mother of five,” she snapped. “I can speak louder than anybody.”

Speaking with reporters after the event, Pelosi said her visit wasn’t about Republicans and Democrats.

“This is about the United State of America. And this tax bill will be very damaging to our future,” she said. “It robs the future to the tune of trillions of dollars, it refuses to invest in helping people, because it says now we have a debt that they have increased.”

The state Republican Party issue a statement saying the legislation positively impacts millions of Americans, including thousands of Arizonans. The Party included a list of companies operating in Arizona that provided bonuses after the tax cuts were enacted.

“The private sector response to this legislation is in addition to the estimated $2,512 in after-tax income Arizona’s middle class families should see back in their paychecks due to tax reform,” the GOP statement said.

Pelosi has also called the $1.5 trillion Republican tax proposal “disastrous” for the state’s working families. It’s a message she has been taking across the country.

President Donald Trump signed the sweeping tax bill just before Christmas.

The 100-city tour was organized by a group called Tax March, which has described itself as a “growing national movement” that wants tax-code reform to focus on an “economy that invests in working families” and not “loopholes for the wealthy.”

The tax legislation was the first significant legislative win for Trump.

“It’s going to be a tremendous thing for the American people. It’s going to be fantastic for the economy,” he said after the signing.

“It’s going to keep companies from leaving our shores,” the president said as he signed the bill in the Oval Office. “I consider this very much a bill for the middle class, a bill for jobs.”

The tour has another Arizona stop planned Wednesday in Tucson.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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