No on the Tax Bill

The conference tax bill that was rushed to a vote today is even worse than the House version that passed last month. It repeals the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. This will cause 13 million more Americans to lose the ability to see a doctor. One million in Texas alone, the least insured state in the union. Those Texans lucky enough to still be insured will see their premiums go up by an average of $1,730 a year. So we’ve got to ask, is there really a tax break if families have to pay more for their healthcare and their children’s well-being?

The conference bill also disproportionately benefits the wealthiest. 83% of the tax breaks in this bill flow straight to the top 1% of Americans. It will cause inequality to grow and hurt the very people we should be helping. The gap between the very rich and everyone else is currently larger than at any point since the 1920s, and is greater here than any other developed country. But this tax bill further grows that gap.

Worse than giving breaks to the wealthiest, this bill hurts middle class families more than the original House bill. 86 million middle class households will see a tax increase. That’s more than half of our country’s middle class families. On top of that, corporate tax cuts are preserved in perpetuity under this legislation while individual tax credits, including an increase in the child tax credit, ultimately expire.

I’m also concerned by the way in which this tax bill hurts public school students, our public school teachers, librarians, and nurses. It includes an amendment from Senator Cruz that takes $500 million in tax payer money out of our public schools to benefit wealthy parents and private schools.

And as a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and the representative of our men and women stationed at Fort Bliss, I can’t ignore how this bill hurts those who served their country.

It’s really no wonder that only 33% of Americans approve of this tax plan. Even fewer (21%) say they think they will be better off if it becomes law. The majority is right; they won’t be. For all of these reasons and too many more, I voted no on this tax bill. If we’re going to rewrite the tax code, if we’re going to shuffle the economic structure of our country, let’s do it in a way that lifts up middle class families in Texas. Today’s bill does the opposite.