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Adams, Butterfield oppose GOP tax reform plan


U.S. Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12) U.S. Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12)
As the U.S. Senate begins debate, and the full House votes this week on the new GOP tax reform package Pres. Trump and Congressional leaders have been pushing, with mixed results thus far, both of North Carolina’s African American Congress members have made it clear to count them in the opposition.

U.S. Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12) and Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1), in scathing statements, don’t see the Republican tax plan as helping the taxpayers who need the relief the most – the middle-class - and fear that, once again, the rich will be the primary beneficiaries if the plan is passed.

“The Ryan-McConnell tax plan isn’t tax reform, it’s a tax cut for the wealthy that leaves working families behind,” said Congresswoman Adams. “This bill, cobbled together by Republican leadership under the cloak of darkness, repeals key deductions that families depend on such as medical expense, student loan interest, state taxes, and personal exemptions, to pay for a 15 percent tax cut for corporations. To make matters worse, this plan borrows from our future by adding $1.5 trillion to the deficit in the next decade, saddling future generations with more debt. This plan is bad for the middle class; I urge my colleagues in the House to stand with American families and vote against this disastrous plan.”

In a letter last week to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, Rep. Adams outlined her district’s tax priorities, citing making education affordable, “…safeguard retirement investments, promote entrepreneurship, and protect cultural institutions.

All of the above are critical, Rep. Adams says, to “…create a pathway for the middle class.”

Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1) Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1)
“This plan is a one-sided measure that provides cuts for corporations on the backs of the middle-class,” said Congresswoman Adams. “Millions of hardworking families and local businesses need real tax relief but the GOP plan falls short. We cannot afford the partisan antics that have plagued this conversation any longer.”

Both the House and Senate have differing plans they hope to have passed before Thanksgiving next week, so that Pres. Trump can sign a compromise measure into law before Christmas, a timetable most observers consider extremely hopeful at best.

Now the Republican plan out of the U.S. Senate includes a provision to end the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, repeal of the individual mandate would save more than $300 billion over a decade but result in more than 13 million fewer Americans being covered by health insurance.

Republicans tout their tax plan helping middle-class families with expanding the child care tax credit, lower income and corporate tax rates. Republicans revealed on Tuesday that their tax cuts for individuals would expire at the end of 2025, in order to comply with a procedural requirement. Meanwhile, the cuts in the corporate tax rate would remain permanent.

But Democrats aren’t so sure details of the proposed tax plan wouldn’t do more harm than good.

Congressman Butterfield took to the House floor, last week, to voice his dissention to the so-called “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”

In a statement, the First District congressman said, “While the GOP gives multi-trillion dollar tax giveaways to the wealthiest and corporate America, Republicans are destroying key tax benefits for middle class families.

  • Rep. Butterfield blasted the fact that if passed, the GOP tax plan would dismantle state and local tax deductions, thus “…imposing an unfair double tax on middle class families, driving down home values, and endangering local governments’ ability to fund law enforcement, schools and health services.”
  • The GOP tax plan would also eliminate student loan interest deductions and
  • lifelong learning credits – “…destroying a key deduction for young graduates and workers getting the job training they need to succeed in the 21st century economy, while preserving special giveaways for the wealthiest.”

  • And if all of the above wasn’t concerning enough, Rep. Butterfield says, the GOP tax plan would also eliminate medical expense deductions “…destroying a key deduction claimed by nearly 9 million American households, which helps families with children with disabilities, long-term care needs, a need for expensive fertility treatments, and many others,” and impose new limits on mortgage interest deductions – “…assaulting the dream of middle class homeownership in communities across America.”

Both representatives Butterfield and Adams also railed against the fact that Republican leadership has scheduled no public hearings, kept much of the details of the tax reform plan out of public view until the last minute, and kept Democrats at arms-length so that there can be no collaboration in constructing the bill.

Rep. Adams demanded better.

“This is absolute no way for Congress to legislate,” she told Speaker Ryan in her Nov. 9 letter. “I urge you to return to regular order and conduct Congressional business in a manner befitting American dignity and encourage good legislation.”