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Trump brags: GOP tax bill ‘essentially repealed Obamacare’

Vice President Pence in the chair, announces the Senate vote on the tax bill. (photo by Lynn Sweet)

WASHINGTON – Just before the House runs its final vote on the GOP tax bill, President Donald Trump on Wednesday trumpeted the impending passage of what will be his major legislative achievement, highlightng how the measure “essentially” repeals Obamacare.

The sweeping tax overhaul ends the mandate for Americans to buy health insurance or pay what basically what was a fine. This mandate end could destabilize the health insurance markets and drive up premium costs.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the new tax plan could hike, not cut taxes for many in Chicago. Here’s a link to my column where I explain the many factors that will determine whether or not you will pay more.

Some background: At 12:44 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Vice President Michael Pence, sitting in the chair in the Senate chamber, announced the GOP tax bill passed on a 51-48 vote, setting the stage for the quick revote in the House in the morning and on to President Donald Trump to sign.

The House on Tuesday approved the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on a 227-203 roll call. Both the House and Senate voted along partisan lines except for 12 House Republicans who crossed the aisle. The House has to vote again because several provisions were taken out of the Senate version and each chamber has to approve the identical legislation in order for it to be sent to the White House.

Here’s reaction to the sweeping tax overhaul….


Statement from Mayor Emanuel on GOP Tax Bill

President Trump’s tax plan forces working families to pay more while giving the ultra-wealthy and companies like his own a massive tax cut. The damaging effects of the Trump plan are countless, here in Chicago many families could see a tax increase, and could see their healthcare costs skyrocket. Our schools and neighborhood investments will be undermined by these new policies. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Republicans have tried these policies before and they do not work. And our children are left to foot the bill. As a city, we’ll continue to fight back against the reckless Trump agenda that hurts too many of our communities.

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Quigley Statement on Passage of the Republican Tax Reform Bill

“Today, Republicans shamefully forced their partisan tax bill through Congress and on to the desk of President Trump. This is fantastic news if you are in the top 1 percent of earners who will receive 83 percent of the tax cuts, are a tax lawyer hired to exploit new loopholes, or are part of Trump’s inner circle. But if you are a member of one of the 86 million middle-class families who will see their taxes go up in the next decade or one of the 13 million Americans that will lose healthcare coverage because of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, then today’s vote will be remembered as nothing more than another giveaway to the wealthiest among us on the backs of families struggling to get by.

“Now that we’re one step closer to adding $1.5 trillion in unpaid tax cuts to our growing deficits, Speaker Ryan has made clear his intention of slashing Medicare, Medicaid, and anti-poverty programs to address the debt crisis manufactured by this bill. While Congress has failed to uphold the President’s promise that the wealthy ‘will not be gaining at all with this plan,’ we must not allow him to break the pledge he made to protect Medicare and Medicaid.

“I’ve heard from my constituents, who overwhelmingly—almost unanimously—oppose this shameful bill, just like the majority of Americans across the country. I promise them that I will hold Republicans’ feet to the fire and continue to urge them to abandon their anti-middle class agenda, go back to the drawing board, and work with Democrats to pass an economic plan that addressees our real economic challenges by fostering growth, creating jobs, and delivering new opportunities and resources for Americans to prosper.”

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From White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders:

“This is a historic step toward tax relief for hardworking Americans. We commend every Senator who supported these tax cuts and look forward to the House’s final vote on this important bill tomorrow.”


Senator Collins secured multiple changes that equaled a tenth of the total tax cut to provide additional benefits for the middle class

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the first major overhaul of our nation’s tax code since 1986. This legislation will provide tax relief to working families, encourage the creation of jobs right here in America, and spur economic growth that will benefit all Americans. Senator Collins spoke on the Senate floor on Monday in support of the bill.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes three amendments Senator Collins authored that will further reduce the tax burden on hardworking Americans, enhance retirement security, and help families who are struggling to afford high medical costs. It also contains a number of additional improvements she advocated for, such as preserving benefits for higher education, protecting small investors, and retaining the historic tax credit.

“Americans deserve a tax system that is fair, simple, and promotes economic growth. This legislation will benefit lower- and middle-income taxpayers significantly, while providing a boost to our economy and encouraging small businesses to grow,” said Senator Collins. “I strongly advocated for several provisions that will provide significant tax relief for hardworking Americans, and I am delighted that they were included in the final legislation. While it is not perfect, this tax reform bill will put money back in the pockets of taxpayers, benefit American families, and spur the creation of good jobs.”
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LCV: Tax Scam, Arctic Refuge Drilling Showers Gifts on Polluters & Leaves Coal for Everyone Else

Washington, D.C. – As Congress approves the final GOP tax bill, which includes a rider to nullify decades of protection and drill in the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the League of Conservation Voters released the following statement from President Gene Karpinski:

“This bill is a disgrace. We’ve protected the iconic Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for decades, but today House and Senate Republicans voted for a disastrous and deeply unpopular tax bill that would turn one of our last remaining wild places into an industrial oilfield.

“This tax scam showers gifts on wealthy corporate special interests like Big Oil, leaving lumps of coal for everyone else. We will make sure people across the country know which members of Congress stood with them and who supported this shameful polluter giveaway.”

Senator David Perdue: This Is An Historic Achievement

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, released the following statement after the U.S. Senate took historic action to fix the tax code:

“For the last eight years, America has suffered under big government bureaucrats’ vision of an America where the new norm is two percent economic growth. Today Republicans said that’s not good enough. President Trump has been working tirelessly this year making it a priority to provide regulatory relief, unleash our energy potential, and change our tax code for one reason, and one reason only: to get our economy growing again. This tax plan makes America competitive with the rest of the world again, eliminates our archaic repatriation tax, and provides real tax relief for working Americans. These changes to the tax code mean greater job opportunities, more capital at work in our economy, and more money back in the pockets of middle-class American families. This is an historic achievement. There is no denying the stimulative impact the corporate tax cut will have on our economy. The best thing we can do for Americans who go to work every day and punch a timecard is to put U.S. businesses and workers back on a level playing field with the rest of the world. We have delivered.”


Duckworth Statement on GOP Tax Bill

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Ahead of a vote tonight on the Republican tax bill, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) released the following statement:

“I’ve long said we need to reform our tax system, but it can’t just help mega-corporations and Donald Trump’s friends and family—it needs to focus on the small businesses that drive our state’s economy and hardworking families as well. This shoddy legislation does neither. It’s an absolutely shameful display of Republicans’ priorities that gives permanent tax cuts to those who don’t need them and writes provisions appearing to benefit everyone else with disappearing ink, once again forcing hardworking Americans to hand over their hard-earned pay so the wealthiest people in this country can get tax breaks they don’t need at taxpayer expense. It also leaves the small businesses that power Illinois’s economy at a competitive disadvantage and will double-tax Illinoisans by limiting the state and local tax deduction that millions of working families rely on. This is a bad deal for our state and for everyone who isn’t a multimillionaire, tax lawyer or corporate CEO.”


AFT President Randi Weingarten on the Senate Passage of the GOP Tax Plan

WASHINGTON—Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten on the Senate passage of the GOP tax plan:

“Candidate Trump promised a tax plan with cuts for the middle class and tax increases for the wealthy. Now President Trump, with the help of House and Senate Republicans, is set to sign into law a tax bill that hits middle-class families with a tax increase and delivers 83 percent of the benefits to the top 1 percent. That’s not populism, that’s plutocracy.

“The American people called Congress, rallied and made clear that they overwhelmingly oppose this bill. Study after study showed how this bill would benefit the wealthy at the expense of the middle class, blow a hole in the deficit, rip healthcare away from millions of families and starve local public schools and services. Some CEOs even admitted that corporations wouldn’t use their tax breaks to create jobs or raise wages. But big donors and the rich demanded a tax break, and Trump and Republicans in Congress delivered. And as the bill made its way through Congress, even though we were able to mitigate some of the damage through our activism, the deal actually got sweeter for those at the top.

“Trump and Republicans in the House and Senate declared with this tax bill that they stand with their donors and the wealthy, and they will stop at nothing to create a new Gilded Age. They declared whose side they’re on, but next fall we the people can take matters into our own hands and vote for a new Congress that will stand with the working and middle class.”

Portman Praises Senate Passage of Historic Tax Cuts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) issued the following statement after the Senate passed historic tax cuts, which will help middle-class families, create more jobs, and increase wages for American workers:

“For years, Republicans and Democrats alike have called for middle-class tax cuts and a more competitive tax code for American workers and businesses, and today Republicans are delivering on that promise. This bill will cut taxes for middle-class families, reform our business tax code to create more jobs and higher wages for Ohio workers, and update our international tax code to encourage jobs and investments in America. This is the first time Congress has passed comprehensive tax reform legislation in 31 years. I’d like to thank Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker Paul Ryan, Chairman Orrin Hatch, Chairman Kevin Brady, and all of my colleagues who were united by the desire to help the middle class and re-open the American economy as the best place in the world to do business. This plan is made in America, for America. By passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Congress is making good on its promise to help create a better economy and a brighter future.”

MANCHIN DISAPPOINTED TO VOTE NO ON SHORT SIGHTED AND RUSHED TAX BILL

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released the following statement on his vote against the rushed Senate tax plan.

“For the last several months I have worked with President Trump, Gary Cohn, Marc Short and the economic team at the White House on a tax reform plan that I hoped would benefit the people of West Virginia and the country. I was honored to be invited to the White House on multiple occasions to meet with the President and know that he was genuine in his desire to make this a bipartisan tax bill that helped the working class, grew jobs and made our businesses competitive in the global economy.

“I tried to work with my Republican colleagues in the Senate to make this truly a bipartisan bill like Ronald Reagan did. Unfortunately, it was clear from the time Senator McConnell passed his irresponsible budget, that he had no intentions of working in a bipartisan way, and instead, wanted to use the tax bill as a political tool that adds a minimum of $1.4 trillion to our national debt.

“I am truly disappointed that this process turned partisan, because I believe our country needs real tax reform and anything that is done in such a strictly-partisan way is not good for West Virginia or the country as a whole.

“When we started this process I believed that real reform needed to meet four goals: it needed to focus on permanent relief for working class families; make small businesses and corporations competitive in a global economy and set an environment for job growth; be fiscally responsible and not grow our debt; and simplify the tax code.

“Unfortunately, I do not believe that this bill meets those goals. It hurts seniors by threatening severe cuts to Medicare next year and it hurts families by destabilizing the healthcare market raising the average healthcare cost for a family of four by nearly $2,000 each year.

“I do believe that this bill will provide temporary relief to some working class families, and I will work with the President to make those permanent, so that hard-working Americans can plan for their future like the corporations and very wealthy individuals that are receiving extremely large and permanent tax cuts will do.

“Despite my best efforts, this bill does not work for the future of West Virginia: It hurts our seniors, leaves the working class paying more, and tilts the playing field against small businesses while irresponsibly adding to our growing $20 trillion national debt.

“During my first few months in the Senate, Admiral Mike Mullen, who was Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that he believed the single biggest threat to our national security is our national debt. This has stuck with me during my time as a United States Senator and has hardened my resolve to get our national debt under control.

“While I am disappointed that we were not able to take advantage of this historic opportunity and pass real tax reform, I will continue to work with President Trump to help the working class and reign in our debt – something I know he cares deeply about.”

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Schakowsky statement on House Passage of the GOP Tax Scam

Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Chief Deputy Whip and member of the House Budget Committee, released the following statement after House Republicans passed their tax bill, known commonly as the GOP Tax Scam:
“With loud cheers and smug smiles on their faces, Republicans in the House just passed one of the most disastrous bills that I have seen come before Congress since I arrived here. And that’s saying something. While crafting this bill, Republicans ignored the interest of the American people, the counsel of experts, and plain common sense. Instead, they listened only to the siren song of their corporate special interest donors.
“Shame on Republicans for supporting this monstrosity. There is no excuse for voting in favor of a bill that gives 83% of its benefits to the top 1% while ripping health care away from 13 million people, robbing $25 billion from Medicare, and raising taxes on 86 million middle class families. The Republican bill makes life even better for millionaires, billionaires, and corporate special interests at the expense of everyone else. Americans will remember this bold-faced betrayal.”
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Senator Murray’s Statement on Passage of GOP Tax Cuts for the Rich: “It’s hard to overstate the cruelty of the Trump-Republican bill”

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), one of seven Senate Democrats named to the conference committee, released the following statement after Republicans jammed through tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations on a party-line vote.

“From the very start, President Trump and Republicans shut out Democrats, nonpartisan experts, and the vast majority of Americans because they knew this legislation would never survive the light of day. The result of their closed-door negotiations is a terribly partisan bill that funnels even more money to those at the very top, at the expense of hardworking families and future generations.

“From the millions of Americans who will lose health coverage or see their premiums go up, to the middle class families who will see their tax bill increase in the coming years, to the pristine region of Alaska that will open to drilling, it’s hard to overstate the cruelty of the Trump-Republican bill. It’s also hard to overstate the hypocrisy of so-called fiscal conservatives who apparently didn’t think twice about blowing a massive hole in our deficit and endangering Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid— all so they could dole out more tax cuts to the ultra-wealthy and the Trump family.

“While I am deeply disappointed President Trump and Republicans succeeded in jamming their destructive bill through without real hearings, true openness to amendments, bipartisan input—or allowing the Senator-elect from Alabama to cast a vote– I am extremely proud of the millions of people from every corner of this country who made their voices heard and who did everything they could to highlight the gross inequities of the GOP tax bill. I want the American people to know this fight is not over. I urge everyone to join me in continuing to hold Republicans accountable for their votes—and to work with Democrats to reverse the pieces of this legislation that so heavily tip the scales to the wealthiest in the country.”

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