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Breaking Ranks: Dems Target One of Their Own for Supporting Tax Reform

A progressive coalition is targeting Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) with a five-figure television ad buy to punish him for splitting from his party and supporting measures to reduce the corporate tax rate.

Ryan incurred the wrath of the liberal-progressive wing of his party when he announced on Thursday his endorsement for business-friendly tax cuts traditionally favored by Republicans. Although Ryan earned praise from GOP members for his support of tax-cut measures President Donald Trump champions, Democrats retaliated against the Ohio congressman by launching the “Not One Penny” television ad sponsored by Not One Penny, MoveOn, Indivisible and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

Ryan was the first Democrat this coalition has targeted with an ad campaign, Axios reported.

"One penny — not worth much these days, right? But the richest one percent of Americans are worth hundreds of millions and even billions of these while the rest of us are scraping pennies together just to make ends meet," the ad's voiceover read. "So why is Congressman Tim Ryan helping Republicans in Congress to pass a tax bill that would give billions more to the richest?"

"Ok, so we know why. The question is, why should we let them get away with it?" the ad continued. "Let Representative Ryan know — not one penny more. Not one penny in tax cuts to millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations."

The Ohio congressman told MSNBC's "Morning Joe," "I think we need to simplify the tax code, I think we need to lower the corporate tax rate."

"We can't just be the party of redistribution of wealth, we've got to be the party of creation of wealth," Ryan added, breaking from the cries of the more liberal-progressive wing of his Party clamoring for middle class tax cuts.

Ryan struck a similar note in an interview with The Hill Thursday, saying, "To be competitive globally, we have to reduce the corporate tax rate."

"We're just not competitive globally because of that," Ryan added. "We can't just be the party of redistribution of wealth; we need to be the party of the creation of wealth in communities all over the country, not to just Silicon Valley, not just Wall Street, but all over."

The comments earned Ryan praise from Republicans, and an ad from the House GOP-aligned American Action Network (AAN) thanked him and included quotes from his "Morning Joe" interview. In addition, AAN Executive Director Corry Bliss said in a statement that he hopes Ryan's remarks represent "the beginning of bipartisan tax relief because the American people deserve nothing less," The Hill reported.

The Trump administration and congressional Republicans have signaled that delivering business-friendly tax reform that will boost the economy and jobs landscape is a top priority for the fall. After Congress' failure to deliver on its promise to repeal and replace Obamacare and its inability to pass any major legislative item, both Congress and the White House are in desperate need of a significant victory.

Although some Democrats have signaled that they are willing to work with Republicans on delivering tax relief measures, most Democrats appear unwilling to back measures that cut taxes for corporations.

"Instead of offering the American people a plan for real, job-creating tax reform, President Trump is pushing a billionaires-first, trickle-down tax scheme that hands out massive tax cuts to the wealthiest, at the expense of American families," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement.

MoveOn.org Chief Communication Officer Nick Berning said of Ryan's stance, "Big corporations don't pay their fair share of taxes, but Rep. Ryan thinks they need even more tax cuts? That's absurd, and an affront to the voters of his district," Axios reported.

But Ryan remains convinced that business-friendly tax reform holds the key to unlocking economic growth for struggling Americans both in his Midwest district and across the country.

“If we could figure out the big economic question, which really is how do we get wealth out of the coasts and into the industrial Midwest and start creating real jobs by the hundreds, if not by the thousands, in places like I represent, that's a game-changer for me."

Ryan, who unsuccessfully challenged the unpopular Pelosi for her leadership position in November, repeatedly has called on his party to ditch identity politics and reconnect with working-class Americans.

The Ohio congressman has also hinted at a possible 2020 bid for president. Reports indicate Ryan is in the beginning stages of assembling a 2020 campaign team, and the moderate Democrat is slated to appear at an Iowa steak fry later this month.

"I have no idea at this point, but we'll see," Ryan told WMUR's "Close Up" in an interview in late August while discussing a potential presidential bid. "I like being out around the country. I like talking about this. I like crafting the message, and I think, you know, maybe the country needs somebody from a place like Youngstown, Ohio, that has tried to develop the local economy at the local level."

Ryan added that his top priority is championing "forgotten America" and workers hurt by the globalist trends sweeping across Europe.

(photo credit, homepage and article images: Tim Evanson)