With House Republicans gearing up for a "make-or-break" vote on their plan to deliver massive tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans on Thursday, progressive lawmakers and activists rallied outside of the Capitol building Wednesday to denounce the GOP's legislation as a "class bait-and-switch" that takes money from crucial safety net programs in the service of rewarding mega-donors and massive corporations.
"When you come for our healthcare, we come for your jobs."
—Ben Wikler, MoveOn.orgThe #NotOnePenny demonstration came just 24 hours after Senate Republicans unveiled a new provision of their own tax bill that would scrap the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, which the Congressional Budget Office has said would strip healthcare from 13 million Americans.
This new wrinkle, denounced as "disgusting" by critics, added a new sense of urgency to Wednesday's rally, as speakers emphasized that President Donald Trump and the Republican Party are attempting to use budget space saved by healthcare cuts to pay for a gift to the richest Americans.
.@keithellison: If the #TrumpTaxScam passes and corporations and billionaires get richer, they're going to use the extra money to buy more political influence and corrupt our politics even further. WE CAN'T LET THAT HAPPEN.#NotOnePenny #KillTheBill pic.twitter.com/OJEWIUGz2c
— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) November 15, 2017
This #GOPTaxScam is backdoor repeal of the Affordable Care Act. And it's based on lies, lies and more lies about how giving money to the rich is going to help you. It won't.
— Pramila Jayapal (@PramilaJayapal) November 15, 2017
"The Republicans are trying to do a little three step dance," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.). "Step one: transfer trillions of dollars of wealth from the middle class and low-income families to the wealthiest one percent and corporations. Guess what step two is? Explode the deficit, and when they do that, use it to trigger both automatic spending cuts and a rationale to cut every program we believe in, from education and transportation to Medicaid and Medicare. We have to say no way, not on our watch, this is not going to happen."
Watch the rally:
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For weeks, Republicans insisted that the primary focus of their tax plan was providing relief to the middle class and small businesses. But in recent days—after numerous analyses demonstrated that this selling point was untrue—Republicans have begun conceding that their plan would, in fact, impose tax hikes on many middle class families.
As Common Dreams reported, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said last week that he "misspoke" when he suggested that no one in the middle class would see their taxes rise under the GOP tax plan.
Massive corporations, however, stand to gain massively from the Republicans' legislation; both the Senate and the House versions of the legislation would permanently cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. Many of the individual tax cuts, meanwhile, would be temporary.
"Our fight against the Republican tax plan requires the same urgency as when they tried to repeal Obamacare."
—Sen. Bernie SandersAccording to a Quinnipiac University poll published Wednesday, the American public is not happy with what Republicans are offering.
The survey found that 52 percent of Americans disapprove of the plan while only 25 percent approve. Sixty-one percent of respondents said they believe the GOP proposals would primarily favor the wealthy.
During Wednesday's rally, progressive groups emphasized the necessity of turning this disapproval into organized action in the coming days, as Republicans move closer to their goal of ramming through tax cuts by the end of the year.
"We're going to fight them in their districts, we're going to fight them in the states, we're going to fight them in the House, and we're going to fight them in the Senate," declared Ben Wikler, MoveOn.org's Washington Director. "When you come for our healthcare, we come for your jobs."
Wednesday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is planning to hold a "Ready to Resist" call to further galvanize the bill's opposition and explain "how the GOP tax scam would take away our healthcare, and transfer billions of dollars in wealth from middle-class and working-class families to already-wealthy millionaires, billionaires, and corporations."
"Our fight against the Republican tax plan requires the same urgency as when they tried to repeal Obamacare," Sanders observed. "Healthcare for 13 million Americans is at stake."