CAP Action Memo: Trump’s Broken Promises to Pennsylvania

Washington, D.C. — Today, as the number of known COVID-19 cases in the United States increases to 149 across 13 states, President Donald Trump will travel to Scranton, Pennsylvania, to participate in a town hall hosted by Fox News. Given that the town hall takes place as the president comes under fire for his weak response to the coronavirus, the administration’s attacks on comprehensive, affordable health care as provided through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid expansion will undoubtedly take center stage for many Pennsylvanians. 

Sen. Bob Casey (D) of Pennsylvania will be highlighting the harmful effects of the Trump-backed lawsuit to repeal the ACA on Twitter from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET using #DropTheLawsuit.

Last week, President Trump announced that Vice President Mike Pence would lead the White House’s coronavirus task force in an effort to show that the administration has a firm handle on the situation. However, in the past few days, President Trump has labeled the coronavirus as a “new hoax” by the Democratic Party to undermine him politically—even going so far as to compare the lethal virus to the Mueller investigation and his own impeachment trial. “The Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus,” Trump said at a recent South Carolina rally. “‘[T]hey tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.’ That did not work out too well. They could not do it. They tried the impeachment hoax.” 

Experts say that President Trump’s scurrilous deflections, attacks on the ACA, and inept leadership on the coronavirus response could make the spread of the virus worse. According to research from Protect Our Care, the Trump administration’s backing of the partisan lawsuit Texas v. United States, which seeks to dismantle the ACA in the courts, could have devastating effects on combating the spread of the coronavirus—specifically, by ending a provision under the ACA that would make vaccines for the disease free to patients. The research also shows that Americans without health coverage are less likely to seek medical treatment, which could lead to a greater spread of the virus. While there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania to date, health authorities have begun preparations to administer tests across the state.  

In previous visits to Pennsylvania, President Trump made sweeping promises to working families on kitchen-table issues such as health care and the economy. In reality, the administration has failed to deliver on Trump’s basic promises to working families. 

Learn more about how President Trump’s policies and broken promises have hurt Pennsylvania families here.

Health care

Promise: “[W]e can repeal and replace Obamacare and save health care for every family in Pennsylvania.” – Donald Trump in Scranton, Pennsylvania, November 7, 2016

Reality: The Trump administration is trying to repeal the ACA through the courts with no replacement. If successful, Trump administration will strip coverage from millions of Americans, raise premiums, and end protections for people with preexisting conditions. In Pennsylvania: 

  • 858,000 Pennsylvanians could lose coverage under ACA repeal, leading to a 133 percent increase in the state’s uninsured rate.
  • 89,000 Pennsylvania young adults under their parents’ coverage could lose care. Because of the ACA, millions of young adults are able to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.
  • Pennsylvanians would lose important federal health care funding. The Urban Institute estimates that full repeal of the ACA would reduce federal spending on Pennsylvanians’ Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program, and marketplace subsidies by $5.1 billion, or 32 percent, in the first year.
  • 5,329,500 Pennsylvanians have a preexisting condition, including 642,700 Pennsylvania children, 2,595,000 Pennsylvania women, and 1,359,900 Pennsylvanians between ages 55 and 64.

Profits and wages

Promise: “I will be the greatest jobs President that God ever created. … [O]ur poorer citizens will get new jobs and higher pay and new hope for their life.” – Donald Trump, October 5, 2016

Reality: The Trump administration has taken away safeguards that ensure workers are paid overtime, protect retirees from exploitative financial advisers, and ensure that people pay less at the gas pump. The Trump administration blocked a minimum wage increase denying a pay increase to 2 million Pennsylvania workers, resulting in $7 billion in lost wages for the state. Due to the Trump administration’s policies, Pennsylvanians will lose:

Manufacturing jobs 

Promise: “To all the people of Pennsylvania, I say we are going to put the miners and the factory workers and the steel workers back to work. We’re bringing our companies back.” – Donald Trump in Scranton, Pennsylvania, November 7, 2016

Reality: Over the past year, Pennsylvania has seen 10 consecutive months of decreases in total employment in primary metal manufacturing, which includes steel workers. Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector has lost 7,400 jobs since October 2018.

  • The Scranton metro area has been experiencing long-term drops in employment and has lost more than 3,000 private sector jobs since the beginning of 2018—a drop of 1.3 percent.
  • The unemployment rate in Scranton has been increasing since mid-2019 and now stands at 5.5 percent—more than twice as high as the national unemployment rate.
  • In the two years following the start of Trump’s trade war, 1,600 people in the Scranton metro area have lost their jobs due to mass layoffs or plant closures—a 109 percent increase over the preceding two years.
  • Experts predict that Trump’s erratic steel and aluminum trade policies will result in job losses of close to 180,000 across the country, including approximately 14,000 jobs in Pennsylvaniamany of which are in the manufacturing sector.
  • Three Pennsylvania manufacturing hubs—Scranton, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg—are among the top 50 hardest-hit communities in the country from Trump’s erratic trade policies.

Taxes

Promise: “[W]e will massively cut taxes for the middle class, the forgotten people, the forgotten  men and women of this country, who built our country.” – Donald Trump in Scranton, Pennsylvania, November 7, 2016

Reality: Most of the Trump administration’s $2 trillion tax cut goes to big corporations and the rich. Many Pennsylvania families are getting stuck with the bill.

  • 375,990 Pennsylvania families paid more in taxes last year due to the Trump administration’s tax bill.
  • In Pennsylvania, the average tax cut for the wealthiest 1 percent was $53,580, while the bottom 80 percent of earners saw a small fraction of that.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Freedom Alexander Murphy at or 202-796-9712.