Well after most of America went to bed on Friday, Senate Republicans passed a terrible tax bill that will have devastating effects on working families. In response to the Senate vote, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said:
The GOP tax bill that passed the Senate by one vote is nothing but an attack on America’s workers. We will pay more, corporations and billionaires will pay less. It’s a job killer. It gives billions of tax giveaways to big corporations that outsource jobs and profits.
President Trump said that he wanted to lower taxes for everyone as a Christmas gift to America, but this bill is simply a lump of coal to working families across the country. The only real gift is the major tax giveaways to Wall Street, big corporations and the super-rich, when what our country needs is investment in our schools and infrastructures that create jobs.
Other advocates for working families spoke out against the legislation. Here are some key excerpts:
Sandra Karas, treasurer of Actors’ Equity (AEA):
Senate Republicans, like their House colleagues, have stabbed us in the back. The Senate bill eliminates the deductions for ordinary and necessary business expenses, including agent fees, audition costs, research, coaching and classes, and transportation, among other expenses, which will raise taxes and make it harder for actors and stage managers to maintain their viability in the marketplace....This latest tax bill as written not only doesn’t provide the relief for Equity’s middle-class workers, but by raising costs for thousands of artists, puts our entire industry at risk.
AFSCME President Lee Saunders:
Senators who voted for this tax plan just proved to their constituents once and for all that they are not on the side of working families. The bill represents a shameless giveaway to powerful corporate special interests at the expense of working people, seniors and children. This bill will advance a dangerous plan to force cuts to vital state and local public services and even to Medicare, Medicaid and public education.
This is not tax reform. It is a jackpot for corporations and the wealthiest Americans, and a disaster for the working people who drive our economy.
AFT President Randi Weingarten:
President Trump and Senate Republicans threw the middle class under the bus today. They are handing huge tax breaks to their wealthy donors and corporations, at a time of record corporate profits and when the Dow has never been higher, while sticking it to the middle class and working folks, whose wages have been stagnant for decades and who crave basic economic security for their families. Trump and the Republicans are going after public education and services at a time when at least 29 states are still spending less on public schools than they did before the great recession. The old Republican cries against deficits, deficits, deficits are gone; passage of this bill makes it clear Republicans now only care about tax breaks for the rich. And nobody should be surprised if they use the massive deficits created by this bill to justify cuts to Medicare and Social Security....
The winners and losers are clear and the lines are drawn. President Trump and Senate Republicans have shut ‘we the people’ out of our government and broken every populist promise they made to working folks, in order to serve the interests of donors and big corporations.
Alliance for Retired Americans Executive Director Richard Fiesta:
Today’s Senate vote was shameful. With less than 2 weeks of consideration and debate, Senate Republicans just voted to give whopping tax cuts to the wealthiest individuals and corporations. Their plan will cause the deficit to explode and trigger $25 billion in cuts to Medicare next year, and another $385 billion over the next nine years.
At a moment when 10,000 Americans are turning 65 every day, members of the Senate have stolen the retirement health benefits that Americans have earned over a lifetime to provide an unneeded windfall to the top 1%. They seem determined to create a retirement crisis that will take decades to reverse.
The vast majority of Americans see this tax scam for what it is. The 4.4 million members of the Alliance for Retired Americans will remember who fought for their health care and who did not.
Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) International President Larry Hanley:
America is the wealthiest country in history, but we can’t pay our bills. We owe $20 trillion and now Congress will add a trillion more dollars to give people with gold drapes money they do not even need.
The Senate’s passage of their tax plan is likely the largest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich ever facilitated by Congress.
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) National President Monica Thammarath:
What the Senate has done is a shameful move to pad the pockets of the wealthy 1% at the hands of America's working and immigrant families. In addition to providing massive tax cuts for corporations, the tax scam threatens public education and affordable care and will exacerbate the growing income inequality in this country. Let's not be fooled by this ploy of 'trickle-down economics’—this is a power play of party politics to feed the insatiable corporate greed of the most powerful.
California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski:
Working people are angry. The GOP tax plan gouges middle-class families, seniors, the working poor and many others just so GOP members of Congress can deliver huge tax breaks to their millionaire donors. It’s appalling to see elected officials who are supposed to be representing the needs of working families in their districts completely disregard us to curry favor with the big corporations and rich political donors who fund their campaigns.
Communications Workers of America (CWA):
Republicans in the U.S. Senate voted to move ahead with their tax plan that hands over billions of dollars to corporations and the 1% at the expense of working and middle-income families who will be stuck paying the bill.
This tax plan is upside down. Instead of making working families pay more for tax breaks for the corporations and the wealthiest Americans, we should be closing the loopholes that Wall Street will continue to use. We should rebuild our infrastructure, make education affordable and make sure that corporations keep good jobs here in the U.S., instead of opening up new loopholes that encourage the offshoring of jobs, as this tax plan does.
Maine AFL-CIO President Cynthia Phinney's statement on Sen. Collins’ support for corporate tax giveaway:
We are deeply disappointed that Senator Susan Collins is supporting the Republican tax plan, giving overwhelming benefits to the ultra-wealthy and big corporations on the backs of working people.
This plan further rigs the economy, deepens inequality and undercuts the future security of workers, seniors and young people. By incentivizing off-shoring, the bill is putting Maine manufacturing workers’ jobs at risk. By undercutting health care coverage, this bill will raise health care costs and decrease coverage for thousands of Mainers. By deliberately jeopardizing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, passing this proposal will hurt hundreds of thousands of Mainers.
By pushing this tax plan, Congress is selling out the American working class to further deepen the pockets of the wealthy few.
Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga:
Last year, Donald Trump and Rob Portman both ran as candidates who would look out for working Ohioans. Today, it is with great disappointment that we see where their true intentions lie. Instead of taking the opportunity to provide meaningful tax reform for working people, they passed a bill that ultimately rigs the rules against us in favor of their super-rich donors and corporations. This bill is a huge money grab by corporate interests that had their way with Senator Portman to get everything they wanted while the average Ohioan will have to pay more taxes, and see jobs and profits outsourced overseas. They have, in effect, slapped working people in the face by doing the complete opposite of what they promised to get elected.”
Senator Portman could do well to watch the example set by Ohio’s senior senator. Senator [Sherrod] Brown spoke out against this atrocity of a bill, and he did so in the name of the working people who he stands up for every day. Senator Brown knows the harm this bill will bring to most Ohioans, and he knows better than to fall for the dishonest arguments that are being made in support of it.
Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain:
The GOP tax bill which passed the Senate is a direct attack on working people across America. It’s another attempt by the wealthiest in our nation to rig the rules of the economy against the rest of us. Through this tax bill, corporations and billionaires will pay less while the rest of us pay more. This bill gives billions of tax giveaways to big corporations that outsource jobs and profits and leave the rest of us to pick up the tab.
The unions of the Oregon AFL-CIO are thankful for Oregon’s Senators Wyden and Merkley who did everything they could to expose this shameful bill for what it is: another version of the same economic policies that benefit the wealthy while leaving working Americans behind.
United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard:
But Republicans feel like they’ve got to have a win. No matter what. Poor people, working people, old people be damned.
And damned they are by the GOP scam.
The GOP bill delivers massive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. The House version, for example, eliminates the estate tax. This is charged only on estates worth $5.49 million or more. So only the richest of the rich, the top 0.2%, pay. And among the tiny number nationwide that owe estate tax in 2017, the average effective rate paid is less than 17%, according to the Tax Policy Center. That’s because the rich employ experts to exploit loopholes so they never pay the official rate of 40%.
Call your representative today and tell them to vote against the bill when it comes back before the House.