Mike Pence Says It's a 'Disappointment' No Democrats Supported Tax Reform Bill

pence tax bill
Vice President Mike Pence joined President Donald Trump on the South Lawn of the White House to celebrate the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, December 20, 2017. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence says he found it both surprising and disappointing that not a single Democratic lawmaker voted in favor of the sweeping Republican tax reform plan, which analysts say would largely benefit the wealthy and corporations.

"I watched President Trump bring Democrat members of the House and the Senate to the White House for meetings, for meals, to sit down—to say, 'We want to work with you,'" Pence said on Fox News Channel's "The Ingraham Angle" in an interview that aired Wednesday after passage of the massive plan.

"When you have...Democrats in the Senate sign a letter last summer taking themselves completely out of the equation, that's a disappointment, not just to our administration, but to the American people," the vice president told host Laura Ingraham.

In the letter Pence cited, Senate Democrats had offered to work with the GOP on tax reform—but only with the goal of producing legislation that would neither slash taxes for the rich nor grow the deficit.

After Congressional Republicans got the bill through, Trump and Pence joined Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan and their allies to celebrate the kind of legislative win the GOP has found hard to come by this year.

Meanwhile, opponents of the package decried the $1.5-trillion cut as a disastrous sop to GOP fat-cat donors and big business, not a leg up for average Americans.

Pence, arguably the president's biggest cheerleader, talked up the plan to Ingraham as a "middle-class miracle." Although he said the tax package "will really, in many ways, sell itself" when Americans see plumper paychecks, Pence promised he and Trump would cross the country to extol its benefits in person.

They may have work to do: A Monmouth University poll released Monday found 47 percent of Americans opposed the GOP bill—and fully half believed it would increase their taxes, not cut them. More than half said Trump's tax policies have not helped the middle class.

The vice president, who had delayed a scheduled trip to the Middle East to see the tax bill safely through the Senate, vowed the Trump administration would keep trying to build bridges with Democrats even in "very divided" times.

"The American people want to see the Congress work together, and I promise you—you know this president well. He is going to continue to reach out across the aisle," the former congressman and Indiana governor said. "We're going to take on issues like welfare reform and infrastructure next year to rebuild America."

Working together with Democrats seems unlikely, as no Democratic member of the Senate or House backed the tax cut. Liberal lion Bernie Sanders of Vermont called the legislation a "looting" of the American treasury and a "victory" for prominent Republican campaign donors.

Pence additionally said during the interview that he and Trump want Ryan, the subject of (denied) speculation about a possible departure from Congress, to stick around.

He also said he has not been personally questioned in the continuing special counsel investigation of Russian attempts to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Mike Pence Says It's a 'Disappointment' No Democrats Supported Tax Reform Bill | U.S.