Tax Bill & DACA: Something is about to happen and you can make a difference

Wipe the smile off this man’s face

“No one really knows how the game is played
The art of the trade
How the sausage gets made
We just assume that it happens
But no one else is in
The room where it happens.” *

 The outcome of the tax bill and possible reprieve for DACA recipients could both happen quickly. The Republican House and Senate tax bills were birthed in small rooms where it just happened. With Republicans salivating over the likelihood of achieving their first major piece of legislation, they are bound and determined not to allow their “masterpiece” to fail. The Senate bill has the upper hand because it passed narrowly 51 to 49, and House members realize that too many changes will doom it in the Senate. The House, on the other hand, passed its bill 227 votes in favor and 205 against, so it can allow a number of members to vote no on a final reconciled bill.

In fact 13 Republicans voted against the tax bill in the House. Of those “no” votes, 12 came from members from the high-tax states of New York, New Jersey and California over concerns about the partial elimination of the state and local tax deduction (SALT). GOP leaders are working on a proposal to partially restore the deductions for SALT to address the concerns of these Republicans. In effect we may yet get some reprieve on SALT, but it will require the iron will of numerous Republicans, including those from NJ, the most influential of whom is Rep. Frelinghuysen CD 11), Chair of the Appropriations Committee. Other House priorities include eliminating expiration dates for tax cuts for individuals which should be supported.

On Saturday House Majority leader McCarthy announced he ‘has scheduled the House to return today so “we can vote to go to conference with our Senate colleagues.”  Although it may not happen today, it is likely to occur imminently, and conceivably as a worst scenario the House could even surrender and accept the Senate bill as is. Republicans insist they will pass a final version of the tax legislation before Christmas. So there is no time to waste. The moment for protest is now.

In the meantime congress faces a Friday deadline to pass separate spending legislation or face a government shutdown. They need Democratic votes to do so. However, Democrats are demanding the bill also solve the problem of America’s “Dreamers,”and they first need to get into the room together. In NJ we must continue our protests in support of these people who were brought to the U.S. when they were children, but are proving themselves to be as American as those born here.

Rep. Jackie Walorski (R), one of the tax writers, said she is “completely optimistic” the House GOP will be able to secure its priorities, saying the motivation and focus has not wavered. Her optimism is to be commended, but achieving those priorities will be difficult. All hands on deck in NJ are needed to bring about the changes both in DACA and SALT.

The Indiana Representative added, “There’s nothing good-looking about the process, but the process works.”

“No one really knows how the
Parties get to yesssss
The pieces that are sacrificed in
Ev’ry game of chesssss
We just assume that it happens.” *

*Hamilton the Musical – “The Room Where It Happens”

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