In the dead of night, the Senate passed the Republican tax bill, along party lines. The bill was also passed by the House earlier yesterday, but they had to re-vote on the legislation today because two provisions and the title of the bill violated the Senate’s Byrd rules. The mistake exemplifies the hurried, sloppy process which has been the status quo for this bill since the House first introduced it less than seven weeks ago.
If signed by President Trump, this deeply corrupt tax bill will result in huge tax cuts for the richest Americans, all while eventually raising taxes on more than 90 million working- and middle-class families. It also repeals the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which will result in more uninsured Americans and higher health insurance premiums. And, the tax legislation opens the Arctic refuge up to oil and gas companies, leaving one of the most pristine, protected lands open for drilling.
The bill is projected to cost more than $1.5 trillion over the next decade—a perfect excuse for congressional Republicans to start hacking away at funding for middle class priorities. This isn’t just a prediction. House Speaker Paul Ryan has already admitted that the increase in the deficit from the tax bill justifies cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Although they may call it “welfare reform,” this is just coded language for big cuts to health coverage, nutrition assistance, and other basic supports that help everyday families make ends meet and get ahead. In other words, congressional Republicans are going to come after programs you and your family rely on in order to give massive tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires and big corporations. So, next time you hear a member of Congress say, “We can’t afford [insert support for working families] because of the deficit,” remember the #GOPTaxBill.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#DreamActNow. Every day that Congress delays action on the Dream Act, 122 more young immigrants lose DACA protections—22,000 total by March. If Congress passes a spending bill this week through January 19 that does nothing to protect Dreamers, another 3,400 DACA recipients will lose protection. But you can take action. Go to DreamActToolkit.org, and urge your representatives to pass a clean #DreamActNow. And then share this video about Esmeralda, a DACAmented military spouse and mother who came to the U.S. when she was two years old.
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like 2013. Current federal government spending expires this Friday, December 22nd. House Republicans have already unveiled a plan that would increase defense spending though September of 2018, while keeping all other government funding at existing, lower levels. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has already said that she won’t support this plan, leaving the door wide open for the possibility of a government shutdown. Top Democratic leaders are more interested in a spending bill that provides funding for programs like the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Dream Act. So Democrats are pushing for legislation that is supported by the majority of Americans because it would benefit the majority of Americans, while Republicans have just passed a wildly unpopular and regressive tax bill. Luckily, reports emerged yesterday that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and top senators have reached a tentative deal regarding the Dream Act, which will take effect in January. This may very well prevent a government shutdown and give 800,000 young immigrants the chance they deserve.
Chipping Away at Children’s Healthcare. It has been 81 days since Congress allowed funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides healthcare to 9 million low-income children in America, expire. Since then, Virginia has prepared letters to the families of 66,000 children informing them that their child’s insurance will soon be taken away. Connecticut has also announced that it will have to shut down the program by January 31st if it does not receive more funding from Congress. At least 47 states and D.C. will exhaust their current CHIP funding by the end of April 2018, with most of them ending the program much sooner, if Congress does not act. But instead of funding a program that saves children’s lives, Republicans in Congress are grinning and celebrating after shuffling public money around to line the pockets of their wealthy donors and corporate interests while 9 million children are uncertain of their future. The priorities of the majority party in Congress are backwards at best, and maliciously corrupt at worst.
Overtime Pay. Earlier this year, Trump abandoned an Obama-era overtime pay rule, which “would have raised wages for workers by $12 billion over the next 10 years, extended overtime protections to 4.2 million more Americans, and created new jobs.” This elimination of overtime protections is already having major consequences across the country. To see how much it has already cost workers in the nation and in your state, check out this new tracker.
UNDER THE RADAR
#DirtyDeputies. Yesterday, Senator Tom Carper sent Trump’s environmental pick back to the White House and called on President Trump to nominate someone new “who takes environmental laws and public health protections seriously.” In addition to denying the science behind climate change, Kathleen Hartnett White has been called an “apologist for polluters,” and has taken alarming actions in favor of industry that ignore the public’s health and safety. Citing her extreme and dangerous record, Carper is refusing to let Kathleen Hartnett White’s nomination roll over into Congress’ 2018 session – a move that would force President Trump to re-nominate her for the role. As Carper said, “The Senate’s rejection of Dr. Dourson should serve as a lesson – unqualified or controversial nominees will not simply be rubber-stamped by the Senate.”