Warren blasts tax bill but is uncertain it can be stopped

US Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke during a Boston Globe editorial board meeting Friday.
Ben Stas/Boston Globe
US Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke during a Boston Globe editorial board meeting Friday.

Senator Elizabeth Warren on Friday blasted the sweeping tax bill that passed the House this week as a giveaway to wealthy corporations but said she is not sure there are enough Republican votes to stop it in the Senate.

“When I look at a bill that says $1.5 trillion goes to the biggest corporations in this country and we’re going to repeal the estate tax for the richest, most powerful families in this country, you bet this makes me angry,” she said in an interview with the Globe editorial board, waving her fist in the air. “This is fundamentally wrong.”

Warren noted that the tax cuts for individuals will be phased out by 2025, while those for corporations will remain permanent. And she criticized Republicans for adding to the bill a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that everyone buy health insurance, noting that it is estimated to result in 13 million fewer Americans with health coverage.


Warren said the bill was crafted to benefit wealthy donors who poured “hundreds of millions into getting these Republicans elected and now they want a return on their investment.”

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Despite the harm she believes the bill will inflict on the middle class, she said she was not sure Democrats can find the three Republican votes needed to defeat the bill in the Senate.

“We have people we’re talking to,” Warren said. “But I just don’t know.”

Warren’s interview with the Globe touched on a variety of topics, including the controversy surrounding Senator Al Franken, a legislative measure inspired by Boston Marathon bombing victims Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, and President Trump’s attacks against her.

Turning to Franken, Warren dismissed calls by some Republicans who want him to resign for allegedly harassing a woman before he was elected. Leeann Tweeden, a newscaster, said on Thursday that Franken forcibly kissed her during a rehearsal for a 2006 USO performance in the Middle East and then groped her as she slept during a return flight to the United States.


Warren said her fellow Democrat should be given a chance to explain himself to the Senate Ethics Committee.

“I believe the woman who has come forward, and what has been alleged here is wrong,” Warren said. “Al Franken will be subjected to a Senate ethics investigation and that bipartisan committee will make a recommendation to the full Senate. So there’s going to be a full investigation.”

Warren rejected the calls made by Republican candidates hoping to challenge her in 2018 who have said Franken should step down.

“The purpose of the investigation is Senator Franken wants to talk about the facts and I think he should have a chance to do that,” Warren said. “I think that’s why we have investigations. There’s a process ongoing now.”

Boasting of a legislative success, Warren said she was proud that a massive defense bill that passed Congress this week included a provision that will make it easier for civilians injured in terrorist attacks to receive care in military hospitals. The measure was named for Kensky and Downes, who were newlyweds watching the Boston Marathon when the bombs exploded in 2013.


Downes lost one leg, and Kensky lost one and later had the other amputated. Both received treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center but only after receiving permission directly from the secretary of defense, Warren said.

“That takes time, and time matters when doctors have to make critical decisions about whether to amputate and, if so, where, and how,” Warren said. “So Jessica and Patrick, during their rehab . . . started talking about whether or not it would be possible to change the law so any future civilian victims of terrorism would have access to the military hospitals for specialized care.”

The amendment, Warren said, would allow civilians access to the hospitals only if space is available. Kensky and Downes “were clear they didn’t want to crowd out any soldiers over this, any military who need access,” Warren said.

Discussing Trump, Warren said she has never had direct contact with the Republican with whom she has sparred bitterly on Twitter. “I’ve never been invited, so I’ve never met him,” she said.

Warren said she would not be deterred by his continued use of the term “Pocahontas” to mock her claims to Native American heritage.

“Look, if Donald Trump thinks he’s going to shut me up by personal attacks, it’s not going to work,” Warren said. “He uses racist slurs against people to try to make himself feel bigger and everyone else smaller.” Asked whether she viewed “Pocahontas” as a racist slur, Warren said, “He intends it to be a racist slur. Did anyone miss that?”

Michael Levenson can be reached at