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A Tale of Two Bills
Author: BobR    Date: 11/16/2017 14:13:03

There is no such thing as certainty when it comes to Congress. Both houses have their pet projects and their own constituencies. Members of the House answer to a specific district; Senators answer to their entire state. As such, getting both houses to agree on the specifics of a bill (that will pass despite opposition party votes) requires some compromise and negotiation.

Such is the situation with the dueling tax bills in the House and Senate. Both are claiming tax "reform" (translation: tax cuts for the rich, with the false implication that "regular" Americans are getting a break too), and both are ignoring the deficit - something they were so keen on when the Democrats were in charge.

Let's take a look at what is in the bills:

  • Big Business gets big permanent tax breaks

  • Small business gets tax breaks, although to a lesser extent

  • Rich people get big tax breaks

  • The estate tax (what RWers call the "Death Tax") goes away completely

  • Average Americans get a small tax break (or none at all) that only lasts until 2023

  • The following deductions disappear:

    • Mortgage interest deduction (Senate version)

    • State & local income tax deduction (House version)

    • Electric vehicle deduction

    • Medical expenses

    • Tax preparation costs

    • Moving expenses

    • College loan interest

    • Theft/loss

Additionally, the Senate version gets rid of the Individual Mandate (remember - that was a tax benefit for people who had insurance).

All of this will balloon the deficit by $1.5T over 10 years. That's trillion with a "T".

Back when the Dems were in control, the Republicans gnashed their teeth and wailed about special interest amendments. "Give us a clean bill" they demanded. Now that they're in charge? The "budget" bill has become an omnibus bill Trojan horse with hidden gems like providing rights for "unborn children" like making them eligible for a college fund. That's right - they take away the college loan interest deduction but add this as a backdoor way to overturn Roe v Wade.

The Republicans are also throwing the majority of Americans under the bus (by making their tax cuts temporary) so they can avoid the 60 vote requirement and use the budget reconciliation process instead.

So what's the status of these heinous bills? The House version seems likely to pass. However, as we've seen in the past, there is a very tight margin in the Senate. Once again, Susan Collins (R-ME) is one of the heroes, along with Ron Johnson (R-WI). McCain may be a holdout as well. This will get even more complicated as the two different bills have to be "merged" and passed by both houses.

The election in AL to fill Session's seat is going to become very important, as well as the 2018 election for the House and 1/3 of the Senate. It feels like we're all here with our fingers in the dyke, trying to hold back a flood. If you have a Republican congressman or senator, you need to let them know how you feel.


42 comments (Latest Comment: 11/17/2017 03:16:16 by Raine)
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