A group of New York Republicans in the U.S. House deployed a tactic Tuesday that’s more typically used by ultra-conservative members of the chamber: temporarily grinding action on the House floor to a halt, holding up a procedural vote.
The reason: they want the House to take action on enhancing the federal deduction for state and local taxes - better known as SALT.
The lawmakers who initially voted "no" were Reps. Nick LaLota, Anthony D’Esposito, Andrew Garbarino and Mike Lawler.
“To block a rule is difficult for somebody like me,” LaLota said ahead of the vote. “I came here to be a good teammate, to give to others. But I have to live in a two way street here.”
Congress is currently working on a bipartisan tax package, which would expand the child tax credit and restore certain tax breaks for businesses. But several New York Republicans, including some representing swing districts, warned they would not vote for the bill if SALT is not also addressed.
Later in the day, after they stalled the procedural vote, several of those New Yorkers huddled behind closed doors with Speaker Mike Johnson to discuss SALT.
The current $10,000 cap was imposed as part of former President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul. Limiting the deduction disproportionally hurts taxpayers in blue states like New York, where property and state income taxes are relatively high.
“I don't think that there's a chance that the cap is going to be fully lifted. But if we can get some relief to taxpayers back home and provide them relief until this expires in a couple of years, that's what we're hoping for,” D’Esposito said in an interview earlier in the day.
“The bottom line here is there needs to be a fix for SALT in the bill. It would be the height of stupidity not to include it,” Lawler said.
The SALT cap has also emerged as an issue in the special election to replace ousted Rep. George Santos in Queens and Nassau County. Both candidates for the seat have called for SALT relief.
Democrat Tom Suozi, who made “no SALT, no deal” a rallying cry when he served in Congress, said at a Tuesday press conference that he would pick up the baton again if he is returned to Capitol Hill.
“The SALT cap at $10,000 was a body blow to the people of my former congressional district and to this congressional district,” Suozzi said.