On November 16, the full House (HR 1) and the Senate Finance Committee (see results of session and amendments) passed legislation that would make drastic changes to the tax code. The measure was approved in the House by a vote of 227-205 (no Democrats voted for the bill, and 13 Republicans opposed it), and by the Senate committee with a vote of 14-12.
The Senate bill, like the House bill, provides the largest tax cuts to corporations and those with high incomes. One big difference between the two bills: The Senate version would repeal the requirement in current law that all Americans must have health insurance coverage. This individual mandate is a critical part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which helps keep premium costs lower than they otherwise would be without the requirement.
This single provision of the bill generates $318 billion in savings over the next ten years and advances two major Republican priorities: 1) while not a full repeal of the law, it strikes a major blow to the ACA; and 2) the savings generated by repealing the individual mandate helps pay for other tax breaks elsewhere in the bill.
Complex Senate rules have restrictions on how much the bill can cost the U.S. Treasury over the next decade. A new analysis says rolling back the ACA would violate the Senate rules and add significantly to the national deficit.
Historically, increases to the deficit have resulted in enormous pressure to cut programs that people with disabilities and their families rely on – Medicaid and other community supports, child care, Head Start, housing, education, job training, Social Security, and more.
Both the House and Senate tax bills do little to benefit people with disabilities and their families, and would actually force cuts elsewhere in federal spending, with the Medicaid program being the largest and most vulnerable target for future reductions.
What is Happening?
Both the full House and the Senate Finance Committee passed different versions of the tax bill on November 16.
Your Members of Congress will be on recess from November 20-24.
There will likely be a Senate vote in late November, and although concerns about the bill have been expressed by Senators in both parties, including Senators Susan Collins (R-MA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), John McCain (R-AZ), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR), the time to act is now!
The President has said he wants a tax overhaul signed into law before Christmas.
Meet with your Members of Congress while they are back home, November 20-24.
This recess is an important time to schedule meetings with your Members to educate them on:
- how these extreme tax cuts will result in reducing needed care for people with disabilities and their families;
- the importance of Medicaid and other health care programs for people with disabilities;
- how repealing the Individual Mandate provision of the ACA would result in premiums increasing for approximately 7 million people, large declines in enrollment, and loss of insurance due to marketplace instability; and
- how these tax cuts disproportionately benefit the wealthy and result in increased taxes for many low-income families.
Find your Members here http://cqrcengage.com/aucd/home?0 and schedule a meeting with them TODAY!
- Congressional Budget Office: Repealing the Individual Health Insurance Mandate: An Updated Estimate
- Tax Policy Center: Analysis of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Tax Plan Beyond the 10-Year Window