Donald Trump’s sweeping tax reform provided billions of dollars to corporations and America’s richest individuals. Now, the Republican aides in Congress who helped draft that bill are heading for the exit.
Nearly half a dozen top GOP staffers have departed Capitol Hill and others are soon to follow. Those individuals are leaving the legislative branch for the much more lucrative jobs offered by the likes of Squire Patton Boggs and Akin Gump.
The exits are not limited to a single office either. Members from the Senate Finance Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, and even the office of Senator Mitch McConnell, have all made their exit.
It’s also not just junior staffers taking advantage of the bill’s passing to move on. Mark Prater, a 30-year-member of the Senate Finance Committee, is leaving his post as deputy staff director.
The move isn’t really surprising, it’s common for lawmakers to make their exit after passing any type of sweeping reform. The quick exit this time around is likely the result of experts in tax policy and financial services being in incredibly high demand at the nation’s top lobbying firms.
A Record Year For Republican Exits
It’s not just about fleeing for a cushy lobbyist job. 2018 is the year of the Republican exit. When combined with retiring Democrats, members of the House are forgoing reelection at the highest rate since 1992 when 65 representatives quit, according to the Pew Research Center. Among Republicans, specifically, it’s the highest number since before World War II.
Not surprisingly, The Atlantic reports that following the 2016 election, one-fourth of lawmakers stayed in Washington, and one in six became lobbyists.
In fact, the number of lawmakers remaining in Washington, D.C. and taking jobs at lobbying firms is on the rise.
Photo Credit: Lena Felton and Taylor Hosking
From a financial point-of-view the flip from $174,000 a year working on Capitol Hill to making two to three times that salary base is a no-brainer. On the other hand, it speaks to the integrity of many lawmakers who for years promised to bring their Washington experience back to their hometowns to deliver real change.
The shift also makes sense for lawmakers who have worked under Donald Trump for the previous 17 months and are looking to work in a less volatile environment. Trump’s administration has seen dozens of resignations and firings, creating what appears to be a very unstable daily gig.
In the meantime, we now have what could amount to dozens of Republican lawmakers who drafted a billionaire-friendly tax bill heading to lobbying firms and that’s a scary proposition for what’s to come in the years ahead.