Merkley decries Republican plan that would eliminate IRS, replace it with 23-30% sales tax

Two weeks removed from a mid-session recess, Sen. Jeff
Merkley (D-Ore.) is back in Washington, D.C. He spoke with our newsroom about
the issues he will be focusing on in the coming weeks.

Merkley continues to decry a plan proposed by House
Republicans that would eliminate the IRS and replace it with a 23-30 percent
sales tax.

“It’s incredibly regressive, and I just don’t
understand how anyone can get behind taxing the affluent less, given many of
them dodge [taxes] already and putting the burden on ordinary families,”
Merkley said. “So I’m absolutely delighted to carry the battle flag and
kill this 30 percent sales tax.”

On Tuesday, Sen. Merkley sent a letter to the Department of
Education asking for more data and analysis of racial and ethnic gaps in higher

“We really want more understanding of the issue, and we
want the universities to really wrestle with how to increase opportunity for
all Americans, and we know that the path from poverty to the middle class is
paved by education, and if we don’t have success in making the opportunity for
higher education available to all, it will damage the next generation and
generations beyond so this is an important piece of equity across

Merkley echoed fellow Oregon senator Ron Wyden, who called
out Walgreens for restricting the sale of abortion drug Mifepristone in 21
conservative-leaning states.

“It’s a cowardly action by Walgreens in states where
abortion is legal to say, ‘Well, some state attorney general complained so
we’re going to not provide the drugs that are FDA-approved and legal in that
state.’ It has a huge impact on the reproductive choices of women in many, many
states and Mifepristone is a well-studied, incredibly safe drug, safer, if you
will, than colonoscopies, safer than a whole range of medical actions, and
Walgreens needs to reconsider what they’re doing.”

Sen. Merkley will be back in Oregon this weekend, holding a
town hall in Lakeview on Saturday and Klamath Falls on Sunday.