ICYMI: The GOP Tax Bill Is A Sneak Attack On Your Reproductive Rights
GOP senators forced last-minute changes in the tax bill that are careless and potentially dangerous. Now's the time to make your voice heard with your representatives.
In the months leading up to the Senate approving the tax bill last week, it looked like a long shot. In theory, a $1.5 trillion increase in the deficit is at odds with the whole Republican principle of, um, not raising the deficit by a staggering amount.
But in the frantic, wee hours of the morning on December 2, with changes scribbled in the margins of the bill, all but one of the holdout GOP senators—Bob Corker of Tennessee—acquiesced, giving the GOP-dominated Congress the first significant legislative win of the year. And while it still needs to be reconciled with the House bill and signed by the president, it’s largely expected to go all the way.
Okay this is absurd. One page of the new #GOPTaxPlan is crossed out with an ex. Another page is just a line. Is that a crossout? Is this page part of the bill?— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) December 1, 2017
WHY AM I ASKING THESE QUESTIONS HOURS BEFORE WE VOTE ON IT?? #GOPTaxScam pic.twitter.com/57Qbi7gT5F
Never mind that its biggest beneficiaries are corporations and the country’s wealthiest citizens. Never mind that the budget scorekeepers projected that the economic growth so vehemently touted by the bill’s advocates is expected to account for only one third of its costs. Never mind that a Washington Post/ABC poll showed that only one third of Americans actually support the bill.
And never mind that some seriously shady and devious last-minute additions were slipped in there, that have consequences reaching far beyond Americans’ tax returns. But hey, the Trump family, the oil industry, banks, and even cruise-ship operators are going to catch a break.
While prospects of the bill passing are strong, it’s not too late to make some noise. This week, the House and Senate will be meeting to attempt to reconcile the two bills. Check out some of the egregious last-minute BS snuck into the Senate bill below.
Then fire up that Resistbot.
Defying science, the bill defines life as beginning at conception
In a section breaking down beneficiaries of plans for college savings, “unborn children” are defined as “child in utero,” which is in turn defined as “a member of the species Homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.”
In other words, while this is aimed at college savings, this language sets precedent for application elsewhere—namely, reproductive rights. And obviously, this is extremely inaccurate and dangerous.
13 million people are expected to lose health care coverage
Remember when President Trump told the Washington Post, “We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”
Riiiiight. Despite the insolvency of these tax cuts, the GOP still needs to attempt to pay for them somehow, and the primary vehicle for that is getting rid of the Affordable Care Act mandate. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that 13 million Americans will opt to not sign up for health insurance, and this will result in premiums rising at least 10 percent most years.
It’s a move that is largely expected to negatively impact middle class families—those above the poverty threshold, but not well off enough to necessarily absorb the increasing costs of health care. Whatever savings they might see from a reduced tax rate will be eaten up and then some by the increased cost of healthcare.
Teachers who buy supplies out of their own pocket may no longer get to write them off
Because we all know that’s what’s really holding the economy back. The House bill eliminated a deduction that allowed school teachers to write off up to $250 if they’re purchasing school supplies for their students out of their own pockets (a concept that is already absurd in and of itself). The Senate bill actually preserves this write-off and ups the amount to $500, but this is something that will need to be reconciled between the two bills.
And if you thought your student loan debt was a lot right now…
Don’t hold your breath waiting for help from the GOP. The House bill scraps many deductions for college grads that are carrying student loan debt, as well as forces students who receive tuition waivers to count it as taxable income (even though it’s…not money that actually gets disbursed to the student).
This move is expected to significantly dissuade graduate study, and while the Senate bill did not include similar changes, it’ll be on the table as negotiations to reconcile the bill are made.
TL;DR: Many Americans will essentially be footing the bill for tax cuts for the wealthy, with some super sneaky, bonkers changes potentially on the table. This is the week to bug the heck out of your representatives and tell them what’s what.
Words: Deena Drewis