Today, the House voted on and passed their version of the tax bill, which will raise taxes on 36 million working and middle-class American families. Trump kicked off the day of the vote by arriving on the Hill to meet with Republican members of Congress and host their own celebrations, before the votes were even cast.
Meanwhile, in the Senate, the majority is moving forward with a bill that would not only include similar, huge tax cuts for the wealthy, but would also result in 13 million fewer Americans with health coverage, sharp increases in premiums, and deep cuts to Medicare. Senators are faced with a clear choice: give tax cuts to Trump and his rich cabinet members and their wealthy donors, or ensure that Americans have access to affordable health care and crucial tax deductions. And this choice will come at a high cost, as “voting for this bill is likely to end a lot of political careers,” especially for vulnerable House members.
Some senators seem to be aware of this risk. One GOP senator, Ron Johnson, has already expressed his opposition to the tax bill because it gives the biggest corporations an unfair advantage over small business and rewards them for shipping jobs overseas. Another GOP senator, Susan Collins, is also concerned about the new bill’s repeal of the individual mandate, which would gut the ACA marketplace. It’s crucial to keep up the momentum, so see how you can take action below.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#TaxScam. Next, the tax fight is moving to the Senate, where it has become a health care fight as well, thanks to the recent addition of an individual mandate repeal. Check out how your state would be impacted by this bill, in terms of Medicaid cuts, coverage losses, and premium increases. Then, you know what to do. Call your senators at 202-224-3121.
#GunSense. Today, Senators John Cornyn, Chris Murphy, Tim Scott, Richard Blumenthal, Orrin Hatch, Dianne Feinstein, Dean Heller, and Jeanne Shaheen introduced a new bill to improve records reporting and prevent prohibited individuals from having access to guns. The legislation, named the Fix NICS Act, comes on the heels of a particularly deadly string of mass shootings, including the Las Vegas massacre, the Texas church attack, and the rampage in northern California. The act would “ensure federal and state authorities comply with existing law and accurately report relevant criminal history records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).” It even includes some provisions that would help protect women from gun violence. The bipartisan nature of the legislation is encouraging – and “demonstrates that we can put aside politics and work together to begin to address this national public health crisis that takes the lives of 33,000 Americans each year.”
New Allegations. Yesterday, two more women came out against Alabama Senate candidate, Roy Moore, alleging sexual misconduct. Trump has yet to say anything about the Moore allegations, and last night, the Alabama Republican Party decided to continue to support Moore. Further, some of Moore’s supporters have attacked the women who have come forward, serving as a reminder of the harsh reception that too many victims continue to face when they attempt to come forward. This morning, news broke that Senator Al Franken has been accused of groping a radio host without her consent, which left her feeling “disgusted and violated.” While Franken has agreed to cooperate with an ethics probe, it is essential to create a safe space for women and men who have previously felt the need to stay quiet to share their stories and push for change.
#DirtyDeputies. Last night, two Republican senators announced opposition to Trump’s nominee for the Environmental Protection Agency’s chemical safety office, Michael Dourson. Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, both from North Carolina, expressed “serious concerns” about Dourson’s nomination and his connections to the chemical industry. Dourson has played a large role in enabling states to expose the public to levels of certain harmful chemicals that are “thousands of times higher than the EPA’s current safety level.” His lifelong, close ties to the chemical industry represent huge conflicts of interest that would put Americans’ health and safety at risk, if confirmed. If just one more Republican senator votes no, it is likely that Dourson’s nomination will fail. Even then, Americans won’t be out of harm’s way: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt hired Dourson as a senior adviser last month ahead of his confirmation hearings, possibly violating the law by circumventing the Senate.
UNDER THE RADAR
Work Requirements for Medicaid. New reports indicate that the Trump administration will move forward with waivers allowing certain states to institute work requirements for individuals receiving Medicaid. The states expected to be impacted are Arkansas, Arizona, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, Utah, and Wisconsin. Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Seema Verma, has led this charge, saying Medicaid should provide “hope that they can achieve a better future for themselves and their families, hope that they can one day break the chains of generational poverty and no longer need public assistance.” Yet, the work requirements actually create unnecessary barriers to health care, especially for the disabled and those suffering from severe health conditions. Robert Doherty, the senior vice president of the American College of Physicians, has voiced strong opposition to such requirements, arguing, “Medicaid coverage is not something that should be earned.”