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California in Congress

Pelosi lambastes California Republicans for supporting tax bill that ends wildfire loss deductions

 (Reynold / EPA/Shutterstock)
(Reynold / EPA/Shutterstock)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) on Thursday criticized Republicans in the California delegation for approving a tax bill that eliminated the deduction for personal losses from wildfires, earthquakes and other natural disasters, but kept the break for victims of the recent severe hurricanes.

“They actually voted for that bill,” Pelosi said during her weekly news conference. “[The members] voted to discriminate against victims of fire. We certainly want to have the deduction for victims of hurricanes and the rest, but why are they doing this to our state?”

The Senate version of the tax bill modifies, but doesn’t eliminate, the fire and earthquake deduction so it can be claimed only in the case of a federally declared disaster. Many California fires do not get that designation. It is one of the items that has to be resolved in the final bill currently being negotiated.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) said Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) is pushing to get relief for the most recent California fires passed this year, and that is expected to include a provision to allow fire victims to deduct their losses.

He noted in a statement Thursday that the entire California delegation just signed a letter in support of fire disaster aid for California in a supplemental funding bill.

“I look forward to passing that supplemental funding package — which will include tax relief that Leader Pelosi and I agree on — and I look forward to her support for tax reform that incorporates this wildfire tax relief and allows the deduction for personal losses and other tax relief for Californians and other victims of the recent disasters,” he said.

Pelosi singled out the California Republicans who voted for the House tax bill by name twice, adding to the deluge of ads and protests hoping to sway their votes.

“It’s once again important to note that 11 Republicans in California voted to do violence to the economy of our state,” Pelosi said.

People across the political spectrum are paying close attention to California Republicans’ votes on the final version of the tax bill.

Several representatives, especially those in Orange County, said they supported the House version because they got assurances that concerns about the loss of deductions for their constituents would be resolved in the final version.

Pelosi noted that the House bill passed with an 11-vote margin, and that if the California members had voted against it, the bill would have failed. 

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UPDATES

2:27 p.m.: This article was updated with a comment from McCarthy.

This article was originally published at 8:58 a.m.

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