11.30.17 Update on Tax Bill

From the Consortium of Citizens with Disabilities

close up of dollar bill

Last night’s report from the Hill is that the phones were ringing off the hook, email boxes were filled, and social media was blowing up. The bill is now being debated and may be voted on as early as late night or tomorrow.

The Senate is still working behind the scenes on the final bill—and the public will not have seen it until right before the vote. Regardless of the small tweaks that might be being made, we know that the disability community’s main concerns with the bill (highlighted in CCD’s recent fact sheet)—the loss of revenue’s that will lead to cuts in Medicaid and other programs, the automatic cuts to Medicaid, vocational rehabilitation, and other programs that help people with disabilities that could be triggered by the budget rules, and the huge income inequality in the bill—will not be changed.

Finally, it is becoming even more clear that the tax bill is the first in a 2 step process where cuts to Medicaid, social security and Medicare is stop two. The tax bill will add over $1.4 trillion to the deficit. If it passes, Republicans like Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan have made it clear that tax breaks for the rich and large corporations will be paid for by cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Here’s the Rubio quote: “I analyze this very differently than most,” Rubio told the crowd. “Many argue that you can’t cut taxes because it will drive up the deficit. But we have to do two things. We have to generate economic growth which generates revenue, while reducing spending. That will mean instituting structural changes to Social Security and Medicare for the future,” the senator said. Some other Republicans are discussing a “trigger” that would require spending cuts (to Medicaid, Medicare and other programs) to pay for the deficit.

Bottom line, the programs that people with disabilities rely on the most, like Medicaid, are at serious risk.

Timeline in Senate

  • 11/29 — Motion to proceed passed; bill went to the floor for 20 hours of debate
  • 11/30 – the Senate will begin debate and voting on amendments to the tax bill in a few minutes.  You can watch here; a substitute bill may be introduced late tonight, and possible Senate vote very late in the evening.
  • 12/1 – possible Senate vote


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