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After countless hours of debate and many months of waiting, a vote on tax reform is finally upon us. The Trump Administration has made many promises to the American people, including a promise to make sure that the middle class is not left behind. The Republican tax reform bills in both the House and Senate not only fail to fulfill this basic principle, but each will also set the U.S. economy back in an unprecedented transfer of wealth at the expense of working and middle class families all across our nation.

This week in Congress, Members of both parties will have the opportunity to vote on a tax bill that will impact each and every American household. The House will consider H.R. 1 – the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act this week, while the Senate is expected to consider its version the week after Thanksgiving. A host of tax credits and deductions are on the chopping block — such as individual credits and deductions, child tax credits, student loan interest deductions, and lifetime learning credits — in an effort to fund a bill that will decrease corporate taxes by 15%, consolidate individual tax rates into just 4 new brackets, and repeal both the estate tax and alternative minimum tax to the great benefit of wealthy Americans and U.S. corporations.

I will vote “no” on this upcoming tax bill as I believe it truly does more harm than good for the American people. The Republican tax plan will raise taxes for 36 million middle class families and cause further harm to lower-income Americans. Over the last two decades, I have been committed to fighting for livable wages and better job opportunities for every American. The Republican tax plan ignores the needs of the general public, and would further burden future generations with an additional $1.7 trillion in national debt over 10 years. Tax reform should be used as a tool to prop up the American people, not burden them with expenses and incentives for the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations.

There is a tremendous amount at risk under this plan. Students, teachers, working families, the elderly, and others will suffer under the existing plan. For example:

Education:

In the 30th District of Texas alone, 20,624 people will lose the student loan interest deduction under the GOP bill, according to a new analysis by the Center for American Progress. Altogether, the House GOP bill raises taxes on 36 million middle class families nationwide.

State and Local Tax Deduction:

This proposal seeks to largely eliminate the State and Local Tax (SALT) Deduction, but allows for a property tax deduction of up to $10,000. The bill would impose an unfair double tax on middle class families, driving down home values, and endangering local governments’ ability to fund law enforcement, schools, and health services.

Slashes Taxes for Wealthiest & Corporations, Explodes Deficit:

 

H.R. 1 plans to hand the wealthiest 1 percent nearly 50 percent of the tax cuts, while simultaneously placing the burden on children and young adults to pick up the tab. Additionally, tax breaks are being provided to corporation shipping American jobs overseas, while driving down American wages and salaries. The House version will add $1.7 trillion to the U.S. deficit over 10 years while the Senate version is expected to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit.

Medical and Medicaid:

By giving $1.5 trillion tax rate cut to corporate America, the budget cuts $1.5 trillion from Medicare & Medicaid. This inadvertently affects those who have family members in nursing homes and will charge seniors and Americans facing high medical costs a health tax. The medical expense deduction is claimed by nearly 9 million American households, which helps families with children with disabilities, long-term care needs, a need for expensive fertility treatments, and many others. For example, in 2015, 9 million Americans claimed the medical expense deduction which gives tax relief to families with high medical costs. Alarmingly, this bill, H.R. 1 would charge them a health tax by removing that deduction and leaving millions with higher taxes.

It is up to us to express our opposition to the disastrous tax reform bills in the House and Senate. I ask that you join me in opposing H.R. 1 – the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and contact our U.S. Senators John Cornyn and  in voicing your concerns. This plan is bad for American families, and it is bad for our long-term economic strength.

By: Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee

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