FactPower: Facts, figures, and talking points for Resistance activists.
Call to Action: GOP Tax Scam and Healthcare Ripoff
(Updated Dec 5, 6:00 PM)
WE'VE LICKED OUR WOUNDS. NOW IT'S TIME TO GET BACK INTO BATTLE...
STATUS OF THE BILL:
We've lost both the House and Senate battles. Both bills passed along mostly party lines. The vote was closer in the House than Senate. The two bills are different and must be aligned with each other in a Conference Committee made up of senators and representatives from both parties. The House has voted to send the bill to conference, and Speaker Ryan has designated 9 GOP House conferees to the committee:
Chairman Kevin Brady (TX), (202) 225-4901
Devin Nunes (CA)
Peter Roskam (IL)
Diane Black (TN)
Kristi Noem (SD)
Rob Bishop (UT)
Don Young (AK)
Greg Walden (OR)
John Shimkus (IL)
We do not have word, yet, as to who the House Democratic conferees will be, but we will update this Call To Action when we know.
The Senate has not yet voted to send the bill to conference, although that will certainly happen. We will announce the Senate conferees as soon as we know them.
There are a lot of internal divisions within the GOP, especially between the House and Senate, that we need to leverage. With sufficient pressure on the party's stress fractures. we can potentially crack this bill apart.
The biggest stress fracture relates to the cost of the bill. Many Republicans (and almost all Democrats) are worried about the debt this bill will create and recognize it is not fiscally responsible. The largest faction of fiscal hawks is in the House, and they are aligned with the Freedom Caucus. Unfortunately no Freedom Caucus members have been appointed to the Conference Committee. However, if we apply pressure to Freedom Caucus members with regard to fiscal irresponsibility, they will apply pressure to the Conference Committee members for concessions that might limit the scope of the bill -- or at least the accrual of debt.
A related fracture line relates to the Tea Party. This group was formed in response to the $700 billion in TARP bail-outs for Wall Street banks. Most of the impetus related to "responsible" people not wanting to pay for other people's "irresponsible" decisions ("bail-outs" for bad mortgages). However, there was also considerable criticism about the reckless use of the TARP funds, which often went to things such as executive compensation, paying down debt, lobbying costs, campaign contributions, and acquisition (takeovers) of smaller banks. Only a fraction of TARP funds were used for their intended purpose.
Today, the GOP is talking about throwing trillions of dollars in tax breaks at big companies in hope that they will hire more workers, when most have indicated they will not. Instead, they will use the extra funds to buy back stock, issue dividends to investors, pay down debt, acquire smaller companies, and more richly compensate their executives, none of which helps the American worker. Tea Party loyalists should be very concerned about this aspect of the tax bill and should have some nasty flashbacks to the TARP days. It is our job to remind them of how TARP was abused and how this tax bill will be abused in the same way, at even greater cost to the American taxpayer. When taking this line of argument, it is best to let them assume you have Tea Party loyalties.
Finally, there are moderate Republicans who might be persuaded that the bill is unfair to the poor and Middle Class:
Will raise health insurance costs.
Will cut funding and/or trigger sequestration of funding for Medicare and Medicaid and threaten the future of those programs.
Will trigger sequestration for a number of other important programs with already lean funding.
Will increase tax rates for most Americans, especially those who use itemized deductions.
Will create a special tax for graduate students that will cripple postgraduate education.
There are much better ways to deliver tax breaks to the Middle Class (which is what Republicans claim this whole exercise is about). We should share these thoughts with all variety of Republicans, mostly so that they will know that we know that they are full of manure:
Actually give more in tax breaks to the Middle Class, and not to the wealthy. For instance, keep the current estate taxes to compensate for preservation of the tax deductions used by poor and Middle Class.
Offer a refundable tax credit that is the same amount for everyone -- for instance, offer the same $1,000 tax credit to poor, middle income, and rich people. To claim it, you have to file a tax return. George W. Bush did this. The top 0.1% can use it to go out to dinner. Middle/lower income families can use it to repair the roof or pay the rent.
If stimulating economic growth is the objective, incentivize hiring directly. Offer a tax credit for every full-time position a company creates. That should create some demand for labor.
In the end, these are the things we progressives should probably want out of a tax reform bill, not that we're getting them:
Leave the ACA individual mandate alone, or else insurance rates will go up.
Extend ACA insurance premium assistance refundable tax credits to 0% of the Federal Poverty Level in states that have not expanded Medicaid. Also eliminate the income ceiling for these tax credits, currently at 400% of the Federal Poverty Level.
Increase taxes on the wealthy while the economy is healthy. Create a budget surplus to gradually pay down the debt.
Leave taxes where they are for the poor and Middle Class.
Don't cut the budget. Most programs are already strained as they are.
WHO TO CALL/WRITE
All of these:
Your representative and senators, both Republican and Democratic Central Congressional Switchboard: (202) 225-3121 Ask them to relay your concerns to their colleagues on the Conference Committee
The White House: (202) 456-1111 Ask him to honor his promise not to cut Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security. (Please watch this 2 min video!)
Chairman of the House Conference Committee Kevin Brady, (202) 225-4901 voice, (202) 225-5524 fax Tell him how this bill will hurt you or your family, and pledge to fight any GOP incumbents who vote for the bill.
Paul Ryan (202) 225-3031 voice, (202) 225-3393 fax: Message same as for Kevin Brady.
Mitch McConnell (202) 224-2541 voice, (202) 224-2499 fax: Message same as for Kevin Brady.
The Chair of the Conference Committee and party leadership should be willing to consider input from all of us, even if we're not their constituents. Otherwise, calling outside your district or state is a controversial topic as government and activism continue to evolve. We would suggest if you call outside your district/state to be VERY brief (so that the phone lines remain free and constituents can get through) and to be honest. Use a very short script, perhaps like this: "Hi, my name is _____. I'm not a constituent, but I've become an activist. I'm calling to let you know that the tax bill is a rip-off of the poor, Middle Class, sick, and elderly, just to give tax breaks to billionaire donors. If your senator/representative votes for it, you can bet I'll be one of the people fighting tirelessly to unseat him/her in the next election."
We are currently assembling contact information for key representatives. We will update the following list soon. (Pardon our dust.)
Tom McClintock (voted NO on house bill) @RepMcClintock DC: (202) 225-2511 Roseville: (916) 786-5560
Jeff Denham (voted YES on house bill) @RepJeffDenham DC: (202) 225-4540 Modesto: (209) 579-5458
David Valadao (voted YES on house bill) @RepDavidValadao DC: (202) 225-4695 Hanford: (559) 582-5526 Bakersfield: (661) 864-7736
Steve Knight (voted YES on house bill) @SteveKnight25 DC: (202) 225-1956 ANTELOPE VALLEY OFFICE (661) 441-0320 SANTA CLARITA VALLEY OFFICE (661) 255-5630 SIMI VALLEY OFFICE (805) 581-7130
Ed Royce (voted YES on house bill) @RepEdRoyce DC: (202) 225-4111 Orange County: (714) 255-0101 LA County (626) 964-5123 San Bernardino County (909) 420-0010
Mimi Walters (voted YES on house bill) @RepMimiWalters DC: (202) 225-5611 Irvine: (956) 263-8703
Dana Rohrabacher (voted NO on house bill) DC: (202) 225-2415 Huntington Beach: (714) 960-6483
Darrell Issa (voted NO on house bill) DC: 202.225.3906 Vista: 760.599.5000
Mike Coffman (voted YES on house bill) DC: 202.225.7882 Aurora: 720.748.7514
Carlos Curbelo (voted YES on house bill) DC: (202) 225-2778 Miami: (305) 222-0160
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (voted YES on house bill) DC: (202) 225-3931 Miami: (305) 668-2285
Rod Blum (voted YES on house bill) DC: (202) 225-2911 Cedar Rapids (319) 364-2288 Dubuque (563) 557-7789
Walter Jones (voted NO on house bill) DC: 202-225-3415 Greenville 252-931-1003 Havelock 252-931-1003 Jacksonville 252-565-6846
Frank LoBiondo (voted NO on house bill) DC: (202) 225-6572 Mays Landing: (609) 625-5008
Chris Smith (voted NO on house bill) DC: (202) 225-3765 Freehold (732) 780-3035 Plumsted (609) 286-2571 Hamilton (609) 585-7878
Leonard Lance (voted NO on house bill) DC: (202) 225-5361 Flemington (908) 788-6900 Westfield (908) 518-7733
Rodney Frelinghuysen (voted NO on house bill) DC: (202) 225-5034 Morristown: (973) 984-0711
Lee Zeldin (voted NO on house bill) DC: (202) 225-3826 Patchogue (202) 225-3826
Peter King (voted NO on house bill) DC: (202) 225-7896 Massapequa Park: (516) 541-4225
Dan Donovan (voted NO on house bill) DC: (202) 225-3371 Brooklyn 718-630-5277 Staten Island 718-351-1062
John Faso (voted NO on house bill) DC: (202) 225-5614 Delhi (607) 746-9537 Kinderhook (518) 610-8133 Kingston (845) 514-2322
Elise Stefanik (voted NO on house bill) DC: (202) 225-4611 Glens Falls (518) 743-0964 Plattsburgh (518) 561-2324 Watertown (315) 782-3150
Claudia Tenney (voted YES on house bill) DC: 202-225-3665 Binghamton 607-723-3581 New Hartford 315-732-0713
John Katko (voted YES on house bill) DC: (202) 225-3701 Auburn (315) 253-4068 Lyons 315-253-4068 Oswego 315-423-5657 Syracuse (315) 423-5657
Michael Turner (voted YES on house bill) DC: (202) 225-6465 Dayton (937) 225-2843
David Joyce (voted YES on house bill) DC: (202) 225-3307 Painesville (440) 352-3939 Twinsburg (330) 357-4139
Ryan Costello (voted YES on house bill) DC: (202) 225-4315 West Chester (610) 696-2982 Wyomissing (610) 376-7630
Brian Fitzpatrick (voted YES on house bill) DC: (202) 225-4276 Langhorne (215) 579-8102
Charlie Dent (voted YES on house bill) DC: 202-225-6411 Lehigh Valley (610) 770-3490 Berks (610) 562-4281 Dauphin (717) 533-3959 Lebanon (717) 867-1026
Kevin Brady, Chair of the House Conference Committee DC: (202) 225-4901 voice, (202) 225-5524 fax
Will Hurd (voted YES on house bill) DC: (202) 225-4511 Del Rio 830-422-2040 Eagle Pass 210-784-5023 Fort Stockton (210) 245-1548 San Antonio North (210) 921-3130 San Antonio South (210) 784-5023 Socorro 915-235-6421
Barbara Comstock (voted YES on house bill) DC: (202) 225-5136 Loudon County (703) 404-6903 Shenandoah Valley (540) 773-3600
Jaime Herrera Buetler (voted YES on house bill) DC: (202) 225-3536 Vancouver: (360) 695-6292
Dave Reichert (voted YES on house bill) (202) 225-7761 Issaquah (425) 677-7414 or (877) 920-9208 Wenatchee (509)885-6615