Budget & Appropriations (2017 Offering of Letters)
- Congress is racing against time as they try to agree on details of a spending package in order to avert a government shutdown. Congressional leaders have said they will need to enact a short-term extension of the current continuing resolution that runs through Dec. 8 as they work on an agreement to raise spending caps for the rest of fiscal year 2018.
- There are only eight legislative days before the deadline to avert a shutdown, and a lot of issues are likely to muddy the negotiation waters.
- One issue is funding for the border wall. It will take bipartisan support to reach the 60 votes necessary to pass a spending deal through the Senate. But the White House and some in Congress are demanding that funding for the wall be included in the final year-end spending package. Democrats also want to attach a solution for “Dreamers” to an omnibus measure.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is still pushing for a vote on the tax bill this week. It is uncertain whether there are enough senators to support the proposal.
- If the Senate can get its tax bill through this week, there’s a good chance Congress could get a bill to the president by the end of the year.
- Republicans are aiming to have the full Senate vote on the tax plan on Friday, Dec. 1 However, a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis showing large, harmful effects on poor people may complicate those plans.
- Reports by both the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation on the Senate tax bill found that the bill disproportionately benefits high-income earners while increasing taxes on the nation’s poorest workers. In fact, people earning between $20,000 and $30,000 annually would pay 13.4 percent more in taxes as a group in 2021 and see a tax hike of 25.5 percent by 2027.
- The tax bill’s chances got a boost when Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she supports a provision repealing the Obamacare tax penalty for people who don’t purchase insurance if it isn’t provided by their employer. But Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has voiced concern about the provision and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) says he opposes the bill in its current form.
- Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) have also voiced unease about adding to the deficit to pay for the tax cuts.
Call (800-826-3688) your senators and urge them to vote NO on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This bill raises taxes on hard working low-income families and will cause cuts to vital safety-net programs that help low-income people.