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

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

By:  Brandon Kamerman

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 education.

"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 America."

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.