Missouri U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill has released a statement on tax reform, citing the need to put “working families first”.

Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO)

The two-term incumbent Democrat is in a tight battle early in her campaign for reelection against Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley.  A recent poll showed Hawley, a newcomer who was elected to his first public office last November, with a three-point lead over McCaskill.

In what she refers to as a “column”, McCaskill continually refers to the current Republican tax plan as a framework which lacks specific details.  She claims the nine-page document offered by the GOP gives large tax breaks to corporations and wealthy people, while increasing the national deficit and doing nothing for middle-class families.

McCaskill said she would not support an idea floated by some Republican Congress member to alter 401k retirement accounts.  “I will not support (it), because there’s no way Congress should be cutting taxes for the rich by cutting working people’s retirement accounts,” said McCaskill.

There have been reports that Republicans could place a $2,400 a year cap on contributions to tax-deferred 401k’s.  The current cap is $18,500.  President Trump has said the possible GOP change could be used as a “negotiating” tool for the tax bill.

In her column, McCaskill said she had dinner with President Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner to discuss the tax framework, but were only able to talk in “broad strokes”.

She also claimed she met face-to-face with President Trump, saying she would work with him on tax reform that would benefit the middle class.

McCaskill further said she was “reassured when (Trump) said he’s not interested in passing a tax cut for the rich”.

Some other Democrats have not offered such courteous responses to statements from the President.   McCaskill is seeking reelection in a state Trump carried by 19 points and still holds a positive job approval rating.   McCaskill noted she and the President agreed the tax plan would need more details to have any chance of getting bipartisan support.

Perhaps in a nod to Missouri increasingly becoming a heavily Republican state, McCaskill offered examples of where she’d worked with GOP members on tax measures.

“I teamed up with my Republican friend, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, on a bill to cut taxes on businesses and extend the payroll tax cut, and I was a strong supporter of the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which made permanent President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for almost 98% of Missourians.”

McCaskill’s column made a couple of references to out-state Missouri.  The release mentioned she was born in Rolla.  And she opened her statement by noting she had done many town halls in rural areas that reminded her of where she grew up, in Houston and Lebanon, Missouri.

Numerous political experts have said McCaskill will have to minimize her losses in Republican heavy rural Missouri, while dominating the urban centers of St. Louis and Kansas City to win reelection.

Republicans have been spotlighting McCaskill’s reaction to the tax plan offered by President Trump and Republicans.  Earlier this week, Hawley held a conference call with reporters, where he said McCaskill is refusing to work with Trump on legislation overhauling the tax code.

The right leaning group Americans For Prosperity (AFP), which is funded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, issued a statement Friday, claiming McCaskill isn’t sufficiently supporting middle class tax relief.

AFP-Missouri State Director Jeremy Cady said, “Right now, it is clear Sen. McCaskill is looking to get to a ‘no’ vote on tax reform when she should be siding with Missouri families instead of her political bosses in Washington.”

McCaskill is running for a third six-year term in the U.S. Senate.