Post submitted by Aaron Rodriguez, former Rapid Response Deputy Press Secretary
Today, the Human Rights Campaign opposed the dangerous Trump-Pence tax scheme. The bill was drafted in secret without meaningful public input and is being rushed through the Senate this week. Under the guise of this tax bill, some Republican leaders in Congress continue to play politics with people’s lives, using it as a vehicle to once again attack the Affordable Care Act and other vital health care programs.
“With provisions that undermine the Affordable Care Act and threaten programs critical to LGBTQ people, the Trump-Pence tax plan would have devastating consequences for millions of Americans,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The Senate must reject this reckless and desperate attempt to score a legislative victory at the expense of everyday Americans.”
The Senate version of the bill repeals the ACA’s individual mandate that requires all American’s to have health insurance or pay a penalty. This provision was at the heart of the Trump-McConnell failed effort to repeal the ACA earlier this summer. Repealing the individual mandate could result in 13 million people leaving the insurance market, immediately causing insurance premiums to soar and leave millions more priced out of access to healthcare. Furthermore, the revenue losses triggered by the bill are likely to result in future spending cuts to critical health programs like Medicare, Medicaid, global HIV/AIDS programs, the Ryan White Care Act, and other essential domestic discretionary programs.
Another provision that some Republicans are attempting to sneak into the final bill includes language that would undercut the Johnson amendment, allowing houses of worship to endorse or oppose candidates for public office. Such a change would allow candidates and political parties to pressure houses of worship for endorsements, transforming them into tools for their own political gain. HRC strongly opposes efforts to weaken to the prohibition on political engagement by houses of worship.
When Congress last considered tax reform legislation 31 years ago, they had 30 days of public hearings over six months. Then House members worked together for 10 months to produce a bipartisan package with 26 days of markup in committee. This time around, Republican leadership has allowed for a handful of hearings, limited public input, and barely enough time to review the hundreds of pages of tax code changes.