As the Republican Majority in Congress continues moving their proposal forward to rewrite the tax code, I want to give you an update on where this effort stands today and the impacts it will have on the middle class, higher education, and small businesses.
The U.S. Constitution requires the House and the Senate to approve the same bill before it can be presented to the president for his or her signature or veto. Since the House and the Senate bills differ, a conference committee comprised of House Members and Senators will meet to resolve the legislative differences between each chamber’s version of the bill, hammer out one final version to be voted on by each chamber, and then be sent to the President for his signature.
I voted against the Motion to Go to Conference on H.R. 1 because both the House and the Senate versions of the bill are, in my view, an assault on the middle class and will do damage to our country. The House version of H.R. 1 is a dishonest ‘bait and switch’ for the 36 million middle class families who will see their taxes increase under this plan. The bill is ‘paid for’ by reducing or eliminating the few remaining benefits in the tax code for the middle-class, including the deductions for medical expenses, student loan interest, mortgage interest, and state and local taxes. It also adds $1.7 trillion to the national debt, leaving it to our children and grandchildren to pay for. The tax code should expand our economy, not our debt.
Meanwhile, the Senate version of H.R.1 passed in the dead of night at 2:00 a.m. on December 2nd. It raises taxes on 82 million middle-class households and adds nearly $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years to finance permanent tax cuts for large multinational corporations. It eliminates the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate which will cause 13 million Americans to lose health insurance and it raises health insurance premiums for millions of other Americans. Like the House version, it significantly weakens the state and local tax (SALT) deduction, which nearly 200,000 of my constituents claimed an average of $31,193 in 2015.
Not a single Democratic amendment to either version of H.R. 1 was adopted by the House or the Senate and there have been no public hearings held on the bill in either chamber. According to the government watchdog group, Public Citizen, over 6,000 registered lobbyists reported working on tax issues in 2017, or 57 percent of all active federal lobbyists this year.
Below is a side-by-side comparison of major provisions in the House and Senate versions of H.R. 1. I encourage you to review these provisions to determine how each bill will impact your family’s bottom line, even though the final bill has not been taken up yet. When it is, I will post the final version for you to review.