Updated: Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017
The Senate GOP tax bill passed with a 51-49 vote around 2 a.m. ET Saturday, Dec. 2.
The tax bills go to conference this week. The house and senate bills to be reconciled are still quite different. A vote is expected around Monday, Dec. 18 according to Indivisible. Click here for more information.
Investopedia has a great, in-depth breakdown of the House bill and Senate bill, comparing them and explaining what that means for all Americans. Check out the detailed break down here.
The Members of Congress conferencing on the bills are:
- Republicans: Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, John Cornyn of Texas, John Thune of South Dakota, Rob Portman of Ohio, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
- Democrats: Ron Wyden of Oregon, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Patty Murray of Washington, Maria Cantwell of Washington, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Tom Carper of Delaware.
The GOP is looking confident. Sen. Flake and Collins seem most wavering. We need to keep making noise. Here are some things you can do right now to keep fighting for a better outcome on the bill.
- If you have friends or family whose US representatives are on the conference committee, encourage them to contact their reps with their views on the bills.
- Be sure to contact your U.S. Representatives and Senators with your views on the tax bill and how you expect them to vote. Thank them for their hard work and ask that them to do whatever they can to keep the worst parts of it out as it goes into conference committee.
- Call you House Representative and ask as the House and Senate versions go into conference committee, that they work to keep the worst amendments out and come up with a bill that benefits all Americans. Tom Emmer, Erik Paulsen and Jason Lewis all voted for the House bill — as well as the repeal of the ACA — and they need to be held accountable for their decisions on behalf of their constituents. All are up for re-election in 2018.
- Work to get progressives voted into the open seats in the Minnesota House and Senate in the special elections in 2018 follow the resignations of Dan Schoen and Tony Cornish.
- Donate to SwingLeft to help raise funds to fuel work in swing districts across the country.
While the bill itself is a problem, the way the GOP jammed it through to a vote is unacceptable and a breach of democracy. Many senators were given a copy of the full bill Friday evening and were given little time to read the 500-page bill in entirety before the vote. It also wasn't released to the public for public comment.
Our representatives are just that — representatives. They stand for the public and in this instance, the public wasn't wasn't given access to be properly informed. Additionally, there was a list of amendments that Democrats were given by lobbyists, rather than by Republicans in what can only be described as an under-handed move to prevent them being fully informed. Learn more about how the GOP secured the votes.
While it's easy to say, "that's politics," it's at the cost of the welfare of millions of Americans and due process of our democracy. This is taxation without representation — our representatives didn't completely know what they were voting on and weren't given the proper time to gain full understanding. Check out this opinion piece from the New York Times to learn more about Congress's broken politics.
The Senate bill has a lot packed into it. It also includes:
- Abolishes the ACA mandate, which will cause premiums to rise even more, create more instability in insurance markets and cost 13 million Americans their healthcare.
- Allows drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve.
- Tax breaks if you send your kids to private schools.
- Pays for corporate tax cuts by taking money out of programs like Medicare.
- Granted corporations a permanent tax cut while every Republican voted against making the supposed “middle class tax cuts” permanent.
- Adds $1 trillion to the deficit.
The passage of this bill is just another reason we need to get organized, to keep resisting and make a stand. Find a candidate or become one. Change has to start locally, at the grassroots level, to make an impact nationally. The more local action, the greater ripple effect we'll have. Stop by the December Third Thursday, Thursday, Dec. 21 to learn more about how you can get started. Check out She Should Run to see how you can get involved in local politics.
Be sure to check out our Resources blog which we'll continue to update to help provide guidance on how to stay fully informed and how you can make an impact.