The conference committee, where the House and Senate tax bills will be reconciled, is the last chance for Democrats to influence legislation that has moved through Congress at blinding speed.

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Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell of Washington were tapped for the conference committee that will hash out the GOP tax bills passed by the U.S. House and Senate.

The conference committee, where the House and Senate bills will be reconciled, is the last chance for Democrats to influence the tax bill that has moved through Congress at blinding speed. The House and Senate versions of the bill reduce the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent, raise the standard deduction for individuals but  eliminate many other deductions.

The Washington senators were outspoken in their opposition to the bill and how quickly it came to be. Of particular interest to Washingtonians are the proposed elimination of state and local tax deductions, including sales taxes, Murray said in a statement.

“Washington state families are paying attention to the details of the Republican tax plan, from the elimination of the state and local tax deduction that would affect hundreds of thousands of families in our state, to the backdoor attempt to open up the Arctic Refuge to drilling. I look forward to bringing these issues and more to the table,” Murray said.

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Cantwell has been a leading voice in the Senate against opening Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development. A measure to allow oil development there was inserted into the tax bill.  Cantwell first fought to keep oil exploration and development out of the 800,000-acre refuge during her first term in the Senate. Last month she  said, “This is one of the most intact ecosystems we have on the planet; why would we want to have oil and gas drilling in the middle of it?”

Murray and Cantwell are joined on the committee by Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Tom Carper of Delaware, as well as independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. On Wednesday Senate Majority Leader Mich McConnell appointed to the committee Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, John Cornyn of Texas, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Rob Portman of Ohio, Tim Scott of South Carolina and John Thune of South Dakota.