A dark night on Capitol Hill as the Senate passed its $1.5 trillion “trickle down” tax reform bill early Saturday morning after delays brought on by some 30 last-minute changes, some still in handwritten form. As Sen. Ron Wyden (D) said on the floor, the most recent 30 new provisions in the bill were an “array of treats” formulated by lobbyists.
The final bill was not available until the late afternoon, so not a single senator had the time to carefully read this more than 500-page document before voting. Of course the public was also left with no time to comment on it as well. It’s a sad situation when a bill as important as this is rushed through congress so rapidly. In the end Republicans had become desperate to pass a key piece of legislation, any piece, as long as it proved their ability to get something done.
Next a small group of members from the Senate and House will meet to create a final reconciled bill. Both bills are a gift to to corporations and the wealthy with crumbs for everyone else. However, the Senate bill differs significantly from the one already passed by the House, and not necessarily in a positive way. Reconciling the two bills will not be easy so there will be a lot of horse trading and compromises. Dueling Tax Plans: Here’s What the Senate and House Have to Resolve. (NY Times)
Then the reconciled bill will have to pass in both houses unchanged. Here is where we need to advocate to our Republican representatives, as a minimum, on changing the State & local tax (SALT) provisions. Most of these representatives have expressed opposition to the SALT plan of reducing and/or ending these federal tax deductions including property taxes. We must hold their feet to the fire.
The Senate voted narrowly 51-49 to pass the Republican tax overhaul bill. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, a deficit hawk, who was the only Republican to vote NO, did so because he felt the bill should be revenue neutral. It’s ironic that it was the Republicans not the Democrats who promoted a bill that will lead us some $1 trillion dollars or more into debt. The Republicans criticized the growth of the deficit under President Barack Obama, but this tax cut would send it to new heights. All Democrats and Independents voted against it including our Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker.
Republicans may yet rue the day they rammed this tax overhaul through Congress. Trump said two days ago, “A successful vote in the Senate this week will bring us one giant step closer to delivering an incredible victory for the American people. Massive tax cuts and reform.” Once again he overstates and misstates the reality, and American people disagree. According to the Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll of 1,257 adults conducted from Thursday to Monday, 49 percent said they opposed the Republican tax bill, 29 percent said they supported it, and 22 percent said they “don’t know,”
As if the Republicans have not done enough already: After completing their tax “reform,” high-ranking Republicans are hinting that they’ll look at cutting spending on welfare, entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, and other parts of the social safety net. (Washington Post) These guys (and few if any are”gals”) seem hell-bent on transforming the USA into a third-world country populated by poor, disabled, unhealthy, disenfranchised people ruled by plutocrats and oligarchs.