NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, December 1st, 2017

Greed wins again: U.S. Senate passes Republican tax scam in the dead of night

An uncon­scionable Repub­li­can scheme to enrich already wealthy Amer­i­cans and pow­er­ful cor­po­ra­tions at the expense of every­one else passed the Unit­ed States Sen­ate a few moments ago — with all but one Repub­li­can vot­ing in favor (despite admit­ting to not even know­ing what was real­ly in the bill they had vot­ed for) and all Democ­rats and inde­pen­dents vot­ing in opposition.

The final roll call vote on H.R. 1 — which isn’t real­ly the final vote to pass the bill, unless the U.S. House con­curs with the Sen­ate ver­sion — was fifty-one to forty-nine.

Sen­a­tors from the Pacif­ic North­west vot­ed along par­ty lines.

VOTING AYE: Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Lisa Murkows­ki and Dan Sul­li­van (AK), Jim Risch and Mike Crapo (ID), Steve Daines (MT)

VOTING NAY: Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell (WA), Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley (OR), Jon Tester (MT)

Top Sen­ate Repub­li­can Mitch McConnell was able to buy the votes of Lisa Murkows­ki  by stuff­ing the bill with good­ies they could­n’t say no to… like (in Murkowski’s case) open­ing the Arc­tic Refuge to drilling. McConnell also bought the votes of Susan Collins of Maine and John McCain and Jeff Flake of Ari­zona.

The votes for the bill by Susan Collins of Maine and John McCain and Jeff Flake of Ari­zona were par­tic­u­lar­ly dis­heart­en­ing. Ms. Collins, who helped sink an effort to effec­tive­ly repeal the [Patient Pro­tec­tion Act] in Sep­tem­ber, blithe­ly vot­ed for a tax bill that will leave a gap­ing hole in that law by repeal­ing its require­ment that most peo­ple have insur­ance or pay a penal­ty. She trad­ed away her vote for an inad­e­quate deduc­tion for prop­er­ty tax­es and emp­ty promis­es from Mr. Trump and the major­i­ty leader, Mitch McConnell, that they would help shore up the A.C.A., which they have repeat­ed­ly tried to sabotage.

Mr. McCain, who pre­vi­ous­ly vot­ed against tax cuts in the Bush era because they were heav­i­ly tilt­ed in favor of the rich rather than the mid­dle class, seemed uncon­cerned that this bill was even worse in that regard. Then there is Mr. Flake, who has spo­ken pow­er­ful­ly against Mr. Trump and who is not seek­ing re-elec­tion. He fold­ed on the basis of vague assur­ances about pro­tect­ing the Dream­ers, young undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants brought to the coun­try as children.

Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Bob Cork­er of Ten­nessee was the only Repub­li­can to break with his par­ty and oppose the bill… after he had helped advance it through com­mit­tee ear­li­er this week and thwart Demo­c­ra­t­ic attempts to post­pone the final vote.

Democ­rats react­ed with fury and indig­na­tion before, dur­ing, and after the vote, which sev­er­al char­ac­ter­ized as a dark day for the Sen­ate and the Unit­ed States.

“Sen­ate Repub­li­cans have once again made it clear that their high­est pri­or­i­ty is hand­ing more tax breaks to the wealth­i­est Amer­i­cans and biggest cor­po­ra­tions —and that they are will­ing to increase tax­es on the mid­dle class, raise pre­mi­ums for patients, threat­en Medicare and Social Secu­ri­ty, open up [the Arc­tic Refuge] to drilling, and blow a mas­sive hole in the deficit in order to get that done,” said Wash­ing­ton’s senior Unit­ed States Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray in a statement.

“This bill is espe­cial­ly bad for mid­dle class Wash­ing­ton state fam­i­lies who would no longer be able to deduct their state sales tax­es from their fed­er­al income tax­es. And it is dis­grace­ful that even though patients and fam­i­lies have made it clear — again and again  —that they don’t want Repub­li­cans to under­mine their health care, this bill would cause thir­teen mil­lion peo­ple to lose cov­er­age and force fam­i­lies to pay more — all so that mas­sive cor­po­ra­tions and the very wealthy get more tax breaks they don’t need,” Mur­ray added.

“Repub­li­cans still have a chance to stand up to Pres­i­dent Trump, lis­ten to their con­stituents, step back from this ter­ri­ble anti-mid­dle class bill, and work with Democ­rats on a true tax reform plan that would actu­al­ly cut tax­es for mid­dle class fam­i­lies and grow the econ­o­my from the mid­dle out, not the top down. I hope enough Repub­li­cans are will­ing to do this — oth­er­wise mid­dle class fam­i­lies will be pay­ing the price for years to come.”

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One Comment

  1. #sad

    # by Mike Barer :: December 2nd, 2017 at 5:42 AM