FACT CHECK: Trump Claims Democrats Supported Reagan Tax Cuts

Kush Desai | Fact Check Reporter

President Donald Trump claimed that “both of the Reagan tax cuts were passed by a Democratic majority in the House, a Democratic speaker, and a vast majority of Democrats of the Senate, including a Democratic senator from the great state of North Dakota” in a Wednesday speech.

Trump outlined his tax reform pitch and called on Congress to work together to move tax legislation forward during his speech in North Dakota.

Verdict: True

Trump’s claims about the Reagan tax bills’ support from Democratic House majorities and “a Democratic speaker” hold up to the facts. Given that the Senate passed Reagan’s first tax bill with a voice vote, however, TheDCNF can neither confirm nor deny Trump’s claims about a “vast majority” of Senate Democrats and a Democratic senator from North Dakota supporting “both of the Reagan tax cuts.”

Fact Check:

The late President Ronald Reagan signed two major tax reform bills into law during his time in office. The first was the Economic Recovery Act of 1981. The second was the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Trump’s claims about a “Democratic majority in the House” and “a Democratic speaker” supporting both landmark tax bills are true.

241-member Democratic majority in the House of Representatives passed the Economic Recovery Act on July 29, 1981, as Trump correctly claimed. Of those 241 Democrats, 131 – a 53 percent majority – voted alongside Republicans in support of the bill.

Five years later in September 1986, a 252-member Democratic majority in the House again passed a landmark Reagan tax bill, the Tax Reform Act of 1986. This time, a 70 percent majority of House Democrats – 176 out of 252 – voted alongside Republicans in favor of the tax bill.

As Trump also correctly claimed, “a Democratic speaker” oversaw both House votes for Reagan’s tax bills; the late Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill presided over the passage of the 1981 and 1986 bills as House Speaker from 1977 to 1987.

The Daily Caller News Foundation could not, however, confirm or deny Trump’s claims about “a vast majority” of Senate Democrats and a “Democratic senator from the great state of North Dakota” voting in favor of both Reagan tax bills.

It is clear that a “vast majority” of 94 percent of Senate Democrats – 44 out of 47 – joined the Republican Senate majority to pass Reagan’s Tax Reform Act in 1986. Records also confirm that a “Democratic Senator from the great state of North Dakota” – the late Sen. Quentin Burdick – was one of those 44 Senate Democrats.

What cannot be confirmed are Trump’s Senate claims for Reagan’s 1981 Economic Recovery Act. The Senate passed the 1981 tax bill using a voice vote. TheDCNF accordingly could not procure any public records of how each Senator from either party – including Burdick – voted on the bill. TheDCNF can thus neither confirm nor deny if a “vast majority” of Democratic Senators and a Democratic senator from North Dakota voted for “both of the Reagan tax cuts.”

Public voting records support most of Trump’s claims about Democratic congressmen joining hands with Reagan to pass his tax reform agenda. Even though Trump’s claims about Senate Democrats cannot be confirmed, a record of strong Democratic support in the House for both bills and in the Senate for the 1986 bill suggests that Trump’s broader point that Reagan’s tax bills had bipartisan support holds up. Trump’s claim is true.

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Kush Desai

Fact Check Reporter