By Nelson A. King
WASHINGTON, Dec 20, CMC – Caribbean American Democratic Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke has strongly condemned the Republican-led sweeping re-write of the American tax code that was passed in the early hours of Tuesday.
“Policy reflects priorities and the GOP’s priorities are clear: billionaires first, everybody else second,” said Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, who voted against the bill.
“Eighty-six percent of middle class families will pay more in taxes,’ said Clarke, the representative for the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York.
“Americans will face higher healthcare premiums, and 13 million people will lose their coverage altogether. Twenty-five billion dollars will be cut from Medicare. The bill slashes the highly popular state and local tax (SALT) deductions and increases the debt by as much as US$2.2 trillion, leaving our children and grandchildren to deal with crushing debt. What’s worse, good paying jobs will be shipped overseas.”
Clarke also said the bill “supports Republicans’ trickle-down delusions, not analysis or facts, saying “it was written first and foremost for the wealthiest one percent, lobbyists and donors, not ordinary Americans.
“Every Republican who voted for this legislation will be forced to answer why they chose the donor class over the working class. They’ll have to explain why they’ve made corporate tax cuts permanent, while making tax cuts for hard-working American families temporary.
“The American people will continue to make their voices heard and hold Republicans accountable for this tax scam. Republicans own this.”
On Tuesday, the Republicans moved towards notching their first significant legislative victory since assuming full political control of the House and Senate.
The US$1.5 trillion tax bill, which is expected to head to President Trump’s desk in the coming days, will have broad effects on the economy, making deep and lasting cuts to corporate taxes, as well as temporarily lowering individual taxes.
The New York Times said the initiative was not without hiccups, however, as three small provisions in the final tax bill agreed to by the House and Senate were found by the Senate parliamentarian to violate the budget rules that Republicans must follow to pass their bill through a process that shields it from a Democratic filibuster.
As a result, the bill changed slightly in the Senate, and the House will now need to vote on it again since both chambers must approve identical legislation.
Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, called the tax bill a scam, saying it “is simply theft — monumental, brazen theft from the American middle class and from every person who aspires to reach it.”
An analysis by the Tax Policy Center found that the bill would reduce taxes, on average, by about US$1,600 in 2018, increasing after-tax incomes 2.2 per cent, with the largest benefit going to the wealthiest households.
It said the reach of the bill extends beyond taxes, striking at a core component of the Affordable Care Act [Obamacare], eliminating the requirement that most people have health coverage or pay a penalty, a move that the Congressional Budget Office projects will increase premiums for people who buy insurance.
Critics of the tax bill have argued that it will enrich a number of Republican lawmakers who supported it. They pointed specifically to Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee and Trump himself, who both hold real estate investments that will get favourable tax treatment through the legislation. – CMC