U.S. Rep. Castor Rebukes GOP's Tax Scam for Harm to Tampa Bay and America

Press Release

Date: Nov. 16, 2017
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Taxes

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) rebuked Speaker Paul Ryan and House Republicans for their devastating tax scam, which raises taxes on tens of millions of hardworking Americans, small businesses, college students, seniors, veterans and more in order to provide huge, deficit-exploding tax breaks to the super rich and big corporations. In fact, a new analysis by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center found that the GOP tax bill will raise taxes on a staggering 36 million middle-class households across America.

"Republicans missed an opportunity to work on a bipartisan bill that would boost wages, create jobs, rebuild America's infrastructure and keep jobs from moving overseas," U.S. Rep. Castor said. "Instead, the super rich and big corporations will enjoy a massive tax windfall at the expense of our kids and grandkids who will shoulder the enormous $1.5 Trillion debt. This is the height of fiscal irresponsibility.

"Since its hurried release, Speaker Ryan and House Republicans have been pressing to pass their tax bill before Americans have an opportunity to understand the impact of the 429-page bill," U.S. Rep. Castor continued. "As I have worked through the GOP tax bill, it is clear just how fundamentally unfair the bill is for hardworking families, small businesses, Americans with high medical bills, veterans and many more. With today's vote, House Republicans are telling the majority of Americans that the GOP chooses deficit-exploding handouts to big corporations and the super rich over real tax reform that puts the middle-class first. In the limited time we have had for review, I have analyzed particularly harmful parts of the bill for Floridians and that can be seen here.

"House Republicans voted to eliminate key benefits that help my hardworking neighbors here in Tampa Bay and across the nation, including eliminating the Medical Expense Deduction that over 630,000 Floridians use, the Student Loan Interest Deduction that helps make education more affordable for more than 570,000 Floridians, and the Work Opportunity Tax credit that encourages businesses to hire disabled veterans and unemployed veterans. The bill does not stop there, as the nonpartisan CBO noted that the GOP bill likely would trigger cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The tax bill will increase the national debt by $1.5 Trillion -- debt that will be passed on for our kids to pay and that will harm America's economic growth -- and "reconciliation" requires $136 billion to be cut from mandatory spending in next year, including $25 billion in Medicare cuts. President Trump promised not to cut Medicare but that is required under the GOP bill.

"Since the unveiling of the Republican Tax bill, my neighbors have been reaching out to me and my office to tell their stories and how they would be hurt by this bill, including Tampa retirees Jeff and Kahryn who live on a small pension and Social Security. Last year, they paid around $350 in taxes. Now, under this Republican tax bill, they would pay $1,744. This is not a tax break for hardworking families."

U.S. Rep. Castor is joined by a chorus of groups, businesses, communities and more against this harmful bill, including the AARP, the American Council of Engineering Companies, VoteVets, the American Council on Education, the National PTA and hundreds more. Here is a link to a letter from Alzheimer's, cancer and other advocates opposing the bill.

"We attempted to try to lessen some of the pain, when Republicans reviewed amendments literally at the midnight hour Tuesday night," said U.S. Rep. Castor. "I cosponsored several amendments to the GOP tax bill that would stop Republicans from ripping away key benefits that help many hardworking families here in Tampa Bay and across the nation, including reinstating the medical expense deduction, the student loan interest deduction and more. Republicans refused to allow these amendments to even be debated. It is clear their focus is on handing deficit-exploding giveaways to the wealthiest Americans and large corporations instead."

The House Republicans aren't the only ones bent on hurting hardworking families: Senate Republicans are moving forward at a hurried, partisan clip as well. And, just when you thought the tax scheme bills could not get worse, Senate Republicans have decided to combine their attempts to give handouts for corporations and the rich at the expense of hardworking families with their efforts to once again try to undo the Affordable Care Act by adding a provision to repeal the individual mandate. This would spike Americans' health premiums and cause 13 million Americans to go uninsured. Doctors, hospitals, and healthcare experts -- including the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, America's Health Insurance Plans, BlueCross BlueShield Association and the Federation of American Hospitals -- are warning that repealing the individual mandate would be disastrous for the American people.

"Since our efforts have fallen on deaf ears in the House, I urge the U.S. Senate to take up a bipartisan approach to true tax reform, fix the tax code and boost jobs, wages and infrastructure investments that will benefit everyone," said U.S. Rep. Castor.