Resistance groups gathered at Republican lawmakers' offices on Monday in a final push to defeat the tax bill that's expected to leave 13 million without health insurance, send the deficit soaring by nearly $1.5 trillion, and raise taxes for working American families while ensuring a permanent tax cut for corporations and the wealthy.
"The Republicans are passing legislation but they haven't read the bill," said Nancy Hayer, one of the protesters. "There's no transparency and Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security will be cut. There doesn't seem to be any care about the millions of people who won't have healthcare. It's a cruel piece of legislation."
The deficit increase is expected to force the government to make deep cuts to social service programs, causing new concerns in recent days among the tax bill's critics.
The Republicans can afford to lose only one vote to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and protesters in Maine, Wisconsin, and Ohio expressed hope that their senators would cast the deciding vote—costing the GOP its last chance to pass a major piece of legislation before the end of the year, following the defeat of its plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) supported the Senate's version of the bill earlier this month but is reportedly still deciding how she'll vote after the Senate and House reconcile their two proposals into one piece of legislation. Her indecision over the bill has not gone unnoticed by her constituents. Dozens of people crowded into her office in Portland, Maine to demand that she oppose the final bill, which Congress is expected to vote on this week.
"This tax bill is basically a giveaway to the wealthy, and it's on the backs of the poor and the middle class," said Paula Gerstenblatt. "Susan Collins has carried the Republicans' water and throws a few crumbs but essentially she is not honoring the voices of Maine who voted to expand Medicaid in this state."
After speaking with staffers, the demonstrators congregated outside Collins's office in the snow, chanting, "Shame on you!" and "Hey-hey, ho-ho, this tax bill has got to go!"
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In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, constituents gathered at Sen. Ron Johnson's office, and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) was also targeted by protesters. On Capitol Hill, thousands of Americans were expected to swarm the offices of representatives and senators on Monday and throughout the week as lawmakers prepare to vote.
Ohioans continue to speak out against the #GOPTaxScam — including this group of central Ohioans who rallied outside Sen. Portman's office today to protest the terrible bill. pic.twitter.com/KCW8zBUmdZ— For Ohio's Future (@ForOurFutureOH) December 18, 2017
Additional reporting by Jenna McGuire.