Culture of Corruption: Yacht Edition.

Remember the GOP Tax Scam? The one that was supposedly for working- and middle-class Americans and families?

The one that only gave the richest 1% of Americans an average tax cut of $55,000 each while simultaneously raising health care premiums by nearly $2,000 for families buying health insurance on their own?

The one that conveniently gave dozens of Republican members of Congress a juicy tax cut? Yeah, that one.

Well, there’s a new poster boy for the self-dealing corruption seen in that Republican tax bill: Congressman Vern Buchanan (FL-16).

On the very day he voted for the Tax Scam—which contains a new loophole netting him a personal tax cut of up to $2.1 million—Buchanan celebrated with a little gift to himself: a multimillion dollar yacht.

So the focus on working- and middle-class families? Not quite.

And the wage growth the GOP promised as a result of the tax bill is a sham, too. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that wages are totally flat when taking inflation into account—and in fact they’ve declined slightly for rank-and-file workers.

Hey, somebody had to pay for the yacht.

AMERICANS LEFT BEHIND.

Last month, we learned a truly horrifying number: approximately 4,645 people—not the officially reported government count of 64—are estimated to have died in Puerto Rico last year in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

In a United States territory, the deaths of over 4,000 people went unacknowledged for months, and a barely standing Puerto Rico has received just a sliver of the funding it needs to rebuild.

The Center for American Progress sent a delegation to Puerto Rico to experience firsthand the reality of life on the island eight months after Maria’s landfall.

A few of the many lessons they learned:

  • The next hurricane season is here, and Puerto Rico is far from prepared.
  • Women are the leaders of the recovery in Puerto Rico.
  • Maria exposed and exacerbated deeply entrenched problems of racial and economic inequality on the island.
  • The colonial relationship between the U.S. and Puerto Rico is seriously flawed.

Please take the time to explore the emotional and intensely educational experience of the visit, and if you take one thing away from our message today, let it be this:

“Much of this devastation and death was avoidable, and unless we continue fighting for the people of Puerto Rico, we are all complicit.”

TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION PRIORITY: HARMING CHILDREN.

Americans responded to Trump’s cruel family separation policy with horror and outrage, and they should be equally alarmed by his new proposal: indefinitely and unnecessarily incarcerating entire families together.

A new report from the Center for American Progress shows that children forced to spend time behind bars—enduring the trauma, stress, and uncertainty of detainment—see lasting consequences, even if they are with their parents.

Even spending less than two weeks in detention can be detrimental to children’s mental, physical, and emotional health and development. Detained children are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, recurrent nightmares, psychological distress, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Rather than pay for tens of thousands of new beds in family detention centers, the Trump Administration should fund alternatives to detention and invest in the necessary mental health supports for children and families who have been subjected to the inhumane horrors of forced separation and detainment.