Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch released the revisions to the Senate tax plan Tuesday night. The new version sunsets most of the individual tax provisions after 2025, but makes the lower corporate tax rate permanent. Senate GOP changes tax bill to add Obamacare mandate repeal, make individual income cuts expire:
Senate Republicans announced that the individual tax cuts in the plan would be made temporary, expiring at the end of 2025 to comply with Senate rules limiting the impact of legislation on the long-term deficit [by making the individual income tax cuts temporary, Senate leaders are seeking to ensure that the bill does not violate the chamber’s Byrd Rule that prohibits legislation passed with fewer than 60 votes from raising the deficit after 10 years]. A corporate tax cut, reducing the rate from 35 to 20 percent, would be left permanent.
Oh, and it also repeals the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.
This would result in 13 million fewer people having health insurance, according to projections from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
The CBO has also projected that repealing the individual mandate would drive up insurance premiums for many Americans by roughly 10 percent.
As Axios.com says:
Remember “skinny repeal”? The repeal bill that all but three Senate Republicans voted for on the express condition that it not become law? Because, as Sen. Lindsey Graham put it, “the skinny bill as policy is a disaster”? The policy is basically the same this time around.
- “Skinny repeal” would have done more than just end the individual mandate, but that was its biggest change, and the one that made it a “disaster” for insurance markets. Any vehicle that repeals the individual mandate, without a replacement, will cause premiums to rise and leave millions more Americans uninsured.
- That said, none of the three senators who killed skinny repeal — Susan Collins, John McCain or Lisa Murkowski — has said repealing the individual mandate would be a deal-breaker for their tax votes.
Why now? The savings. Repealing the mandate would save the government roughly $340 billion over a decade, and Republicans need that money to help offset the lost revenues from $1.5 trillion in tax cuts.
- As CBO reminded lawmakers yesterday, if the tax bill does end up adding $1.5 trillion to the deficit, automatic cuts would kick in — including $25 billion from Medicare. Some Republicans have also said they won’t vote for a tax bill that adds to the deficit, making the search for spending cuts especially important.
Tara Golshan at Vox.com explains, Republicans’ tax bill could trigger a $25 billion cut to Medicare:
The Republican tax reform bill could trigger something President Donald Trump promised would never happen: an automatic $25 billion cut to Medicare.
Republicans are trying to pass a $1.5 trillion tax cut — which the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday could trigger a sequestration across some major mandatory spending programs, like Medicare, federal student loans, and agriculture subsidies, and even some funding for customs and border patrol.
It all comes down to the “pay-as-you-go,” or PAYGO, rule — a 2010 law that says all passed legislation cannot collectively increase the estimated national debt. In other words, if Republicans want to pass a tax cut, they have to pay for it with mandatory spending cuts — or, inversely, if Congress boosts funding for entitlement programs, it has to increase taxes.
If Congress violates this law, the Office of Management and Budget, which keeps the deficit scorecard, “would be required to issue a sequestration order within 15 days of the end of the session of Congress to reduce spending in fiscal year 2018 by the resultant total of $136 billion,” the CBO said in a letter to Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD).
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[T]he ensuing cuts would not only break the promises of President Trump, who has repeatedly insisted that his Republican-led administration would not make changes to the popular health insurance program for the elderly, but would also result in devastating cuts to programs millions of Americans rely on daily.
So where do those “brave” Republicans who voted against the skinny repeal of “Obamacare” just a few weeks ago stand on this latest version of skinny repeal? The Post reports:
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), one of the Republicans who opposed earlier attempts to roll back the health-care law, said Tuesday that including the repeal measure “complicates” the tax effort. But she suggested she might be able to support it if the Senate also passes a bipartisan bill to preserve other aspects of the Affordable Care Act.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who along with Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) voted down an Affordable Care Act repeal effort this summer, declined to say whether he would back a tax bill that included repeal.
“I want to look at the bill in its entirety before you start plucking out parts of it to see whether I support it or not,” he said Tuesday in the Capitol.
They don’t sound so “brave” now, do they? Republicans are lickspittle servants to corporations and the Plutocracy who only care about giving tax cuts to the rich to make them even richer. They don’t really give a rat’s ass about Americans having health care… or your measly tax breaks, you takers!
A powerful group of stakeholders, including the major health insurance and hospital insurance lobbies and two influential doctors’ groups, wrote a letter to leaders of both parties arguing that they should retain the individual mandate.
“There will be serious consequences if Congress simply repeals the mandate while leaving the insurance reforms in place: millions more will be uninsured or face higher premiums, challenging their ability to access the care they need,” the groups wrote.
Broadly, both the Senate bill and House bill would sharply cut the corporate tax rate and cut income tax rates for individuals, while seeking to finance those cuts by eliminating or scaling back some popular tax deductions. What the deduction rollbacks don’t cover would be financed by $1.5 trillion in deficit spending over a decade.
The House and Senate bills would lower taxes for many Americans, but nonpartisan analysts have concluded that the elimination of certain deductions would have millions pay higher taxes, particularly if they live in states such as New York, New Jersey or California.
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House conservatives mounted a last-ditch effort Tuesday to include a [individual mandate] repeal before the full chamber votes on the bill, scheduled for Thursday. Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), the leader of the Republican Study Committee, huddled in the office of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) Tuesday afternoon with House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Tex.), whose panel will make any final changes to the bill Tuesday night before it heads to the floor.
But House GOP aides who were not authorized to speak publicly on the internal discussions said GOP leaders are loath to make such a major change to the bill at this late stage and prefer to see whether the Senate could pass a bill with the repeal provision before bringing the issue up in the House.
In the Senate, the sudden shift in the tax bill threatens to undermine a compromise health measure negotiated between Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). The agreement would resume payments that help low-income Americans afford health insurance, which the Trump administration halted in October.
To win support for the updated tax bill, the Senate could take up the Alexander-Murray bill alongside it, according to Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). The bills cannot be combined under the rules of reconciliation.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said including a repeal of the mandate in the tax bill would torpedo Democratic support for the Murray-Alexander compromise.
“We don’t need to trade it for a tax bill, and we won’t,” he said.
And Murray, the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, told reporters she was stunned that Republicans would again seek to undo the Affordable Care Act.
“The elections last week clearly showed that the American people are paying attention, and they don’t want their health care taken away,” Murray said, referencing a string of state-level elections in Virginia, New Jersey and elsewhere in which Democrats trounced Republicans. “I don’t think [Republicans are] listening.”
Republicans are on the brink of blowing up their “tax cuts for corporations and Plutocrats” bill by overreaching and including the unpopular repeal of “Obamacare” provision and sunsetting average Americans’ measly tax breaks.
Call your member of Congress and Senators today and let them know that you are opposed to this terrible “tax cuts for corporations and Plutocrats” bill, and that they will face the wrath of voters if they vote for this terrible bill. Activists groups need to do their sit-ins at congressional offices for earned media as they did for the “Obamacare” repeal votes.
Kill this Bill!