Special Edition: Passage of the Republican Tax Plan

December 22, 2017
DeSaulnier Digest

Dear Contra Costa Residents:

This week, two major pieces of legislation were considered in Congress that will have a significant impact on every household and the country as a whole. In order to help keep our community informed, we wanted to take the time to send out a special edition of our weekly newsletter that focuses on the Republican tax bill and efforts to fund the government, both of which passed the House and Senate this week and were signed into law today.


REPUBLICAN TAX PLAN

Republicans rushed through the biggest tax overhaul since 1986 in just over one month. The partisan process included only one hearing in the House, two in the Senate, and none of the hundreds of amendments Democrats offered.

The bill is one-sided, worsens inequality, and leaves the middle class to foot the bill for the lavish gifts given to corporations and the rich. For this reason, not a single Democrat supported it, myself included. Below are some of the troubling provisions included in the bill:

- Huge tax breaks to the top 5% in perpetuity, with the biggest gains going to the top 1% and corporations;
- Many middle class families will pay more in taxes by 2027;
- Undercutting the State and Local Tax deduction (SALT) by capping it at $10,000 – double-taxing on average $13,000 of annual income for Californians;
- Adds $2.2 trillion to the national debt over ten years, and leading to future cuts to programs middle class families rely on like Social Security; and
- Causes 13 million people to lose health coverage by dramatically undermining the Affordable Care Act.

Despite my strong opposition, the bill passed the House by a vote of 224-to-201, and was signed into law by President Trump today. Below you will find my statement on the passage of this bill.

Congressman DeSaulnier’s Statement on Passage of the Republican Tax Scam:

“The long-term effects of this plan, which adds $2.2 trillion to the national debt and causes 13 million to lose health coverage, will be devastating to the American public and will lead to future cuts to programs middle class families depend on, like Medicare and Social Security. In the interim, families in California will lose the ability to fully deduct their state and local taxes (SALT), double-taxing on average $13,000 of annual income - a change that will impact many families in my district. There have been very few times in my career that I have been as discouraged as I have been watching Republicans pull this fast-one on the American people.”


SPENDING PACKAGE

Since September 30th, the country has been operating on a budget that has been patched together without a comprehensive plan to move us forward. This week, in a last minute attempt to avoid a shutdown, Republicans again passed a short-term spending bill to keep the government running. Operating from one short-term fix to the next is an irresponsible way to govern, putting critical social programs at risk and depriving us of the opportunity to address issues important to many American families. Among my concerns with the spending bill that passed this week are:

- Inadequate funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program – neglecting to reauthorize this program could result in nearly 9 million children and pregnant women losing health insurance;
- Increased defense spending – adding funding on top of an already bloated budget at the Pentagon without providing increases in funding for non-defense programs;
- Did not address DREAMers – by ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, President Trump left 800,000 young people in limbo; and
- Failed to help thousands of retirees whose pensions are at risk.

The American people deserve better than this piecemeal approach that puts the country at the brink of shutdown every two to four weeks. Despite my opposition, the bill passed by a vote of 231-to-188 and set up the next manufactured crisis for January 19th. By the time we pass another bill, we will have gone through 25% of the fiscal year without a real budget.


MARK IN THE NEWS

Mark’s Effort to Ensure Passenger Safety and Preserve Cockpit Voice Recorders:

The airport close-calls over SFO and Atlanta are troubling. In order to learn from our mistakes, prevent future accidents, and ensure passenger safety, Mark called on the Federal Aviation Administration to look into ways we can best preserve cockpit voice recorders and has called on the Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to hold a hearing into this matter.

Below are a few of the articles on the issue:

- East Bay Times: Editorial: NTSB’s approach to SFO near-disasters troubling
- East Bay Times: DeSaulnier calls for congressional hearing over SFO close-calls, disappearing cockpit discussions

KQED: California Lawmakers Call for Better Conditions at Immigration Detention Facilities

Last month Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) called for an investigation of ICE detention conditions at the Contra Costa West County Detention Facility in Richmond. DeSaulnier toured the facility after allegations surfaced that immigrant detainees there were being confined to their cells for 23 hours a day, and in some cases prevented from using the restroom.

Mark and Senator Feinstein Continue Efforts to Move Forward on a Second Southern Crossing

Mark and Senator Feinstein are continuing work to improve transportation in the Bay Area. The lawmakers believe taxpayers and toll payers should receive more for their money, that innovative ways to move traffic and transit more efficiently should be explored, and that a southern crossing will reduce congestion and speed up commute times.

Below are a few of the articles on the issue:

- KQED: You Say You Want a New Bridge or 2nd BART Tube? Here’s How You Might Pay for It
- San Francisco Chronicle: New bridge across SF Bay? Transit planners ‘happy’ to take a look
- East Bay Times: A multi-billion-dollar ‘mega measure’ to fix Bay Area traffic for good heading your way