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?