In order to respond to the two questions in the title of this piece, one need only look at the number of Republicans who are “taking the money” and running. When has there ever been this many high–ranking incumbents announcing that they will NOT be seeking re-election? Even those who are in safe seats are bailing. The only rational answer is that their vote for their own pockets via the tax bill, was indeed their “cash-out”.
So one has to take a closer look at the Republican Tax Bill, signed into law by Trump. A bill which overwhelmingly provided increases in wealth for those at the top of the socio-economic ladder, including Trump himself. While they told those who believe what they hear and who do not check for themselves that the inheritance tax changes make it easier for people to transfer their wealth to their heirs without a penalty, the fine print clearly states that the beneficiaries are only those estates in which there is a minimum of 5 million dollars to qualify for the benefit.
So with the new tax cut in place, they are not running away from Trump in the 2018 election. No, they are leaving because they got what they were allegedly promised if they supported him during the election and during his first year in the administration. It appears as if the GOP crafted a bill in which members of congress benefited more than their own constituents. This (what appears to be), clear self-dealing should not go unpunished.
When the Democrats come back into power, the tax bill should be repealed in its entirety, and, with the caveat of retroactively disallowing any congressperson who voted for the bill from obtaining the benefits as well as face criminal prosecution as well. This sort of in-your-face, blatant corruption should not be tolerated or and must not be ignored.
Apparently, the #CorkerKickback was not only about the real estate provisions incorporated into the bill to appease him and get his vote, but also involved dollars and cents. Then there was the laughable as well as undeserved praise by Orin Hatch directed to Trump, (we all know he lied), was a clearly a thank-you to Trump for signing a bill that would be his retirement bonus and his legacy to his family. (The best president ever? Please.) It would be no surprise if Mitch McConnell AND his wife retired.
The majority of the Republicans who are “not seeking re-election” are high-ranking Republicans, even to the point of those who qualify for chairmanships based upon seniority. Under usual circumstances, that sort of power is not so easily relinquished. Many news outlets are speculating that the ‘retirements’ are due to a fear of a “blue wave” in the fall elections. However, neither Orrin Hatch nor Corker, would have to worry about being vulnerable to a ‘blue wave’ in their deep red states and districts. The same for many others in which those same persons have survived a ‘blue wave’ in the past within their red-districts. As recently as yesterday, Republican House congressman Issa announced he would not be seeking re-election. He is a senior incumbent – in a solid red district.
Hopefully, if the Democrats take over, this crime against the people of the United States of America can be retroactively corrected, but only if they have veto-proof majority. If not, then there should be a special counsel appointed to investigate whether or not this bill was passed for benefit of those who wrote it. And a key to the possible criminal intent is the fact that they would not allow anyone to read the bill prior to the vote in its final state. They voted on a draft.