As congress returns to vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan on Sept. 27th, Speaker Pelosi’s self-imposed, non-binding deadline that was provided to entice members to vote in favor of the $3.5 trillion budget bill and advance the infrastructure plan on August 24th, a vote made along party-lines, the voice of the American taxpayer is needed now more than ever. Over the next two weeks, we can be the difference-makers in whether this massive spending package navigates the legislative hurdles in the House and Senate to get to the President or if it’s killed before that time, an outcome we will be working to achieve. An additional scenario would be a compromise, which is also dependent on us to effectuate. Through concerted pressure, we could see some of the major provisions or pay-fors removed, resulting in savings of trillions for future generations while fending off massive gov’t expansions by way of taxes, energy, regulation or health care. If these endeavors prove unsuccessful, we could see the plan in it’s entirety pass-a $4.7 trillion dollar spend that enacts incredibly damaging policies. It would hurt taxpayers, fund lawmakers’ partisan pet projects, and grow the federal government’s control over American health care, an argument Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips and former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal recently made in an op-ed for National Review.
Senator Sanders’ proposal, in particular, would balloon both Medicare and Medicaid to unsustainable levels and hurt coverage under these programs. From the op-ed, titled “Lawmakers latest ‘infrastructure’ scheme is a takeover of American health care:” Sanders’s plan would also expand Medicare for dental, vision, and hearing to the tune of $370 billion over 10 years, duplicating coverage and further straining the financially strapped program, likely leading to care rationing and higher premiums for seniors. It is also an unnecessary expense. Medicare already offers care for certain serious dental, vision, and hearing issues, and many Medicare Advantage plans offer routine care for teeth, eyes, and ears. And, of course, a multitude of private plans are available to seniors for these types of care. The plan would pressure states to expand Medicaid, a program that — it is apparently very easy for lawmakers to forget — is designed to help low-income Americans. Nevertheless, some in Congress want the program to cover more able-bodied adults, forcing states to either raise taxes or cut other essential programs.
Phillips and Jindal conclude by urging Congress to focus on infrastructure, rather than the wasteful and destructive health care policies in Senator Sanders’ proposal. “Lawmakers must reject this proposal. But they should not focus solely on the skin-deep debate over infrastructure. That isn’t what these packages are about,” they write. “Instead, lawmakers need to pay attention to what’s actually going on in Senator Sanders’s proposal and the harm it would do to health-care outcomes. It’s the issue Americans care about the most, and it is where Congress is poised to inflict the greatest damage.”
Our friends at Americans for Tax Reform put together a list of tax increases that the reconciliation legislation is expected to include. While the list is over a dozen strong, we’ll highlight a few of the most egregious that have been publicly floated: 1) raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, a rate higher than Communist China; 2) doubling the capital gains tax to 43.4 percent; 3) creating a second death tax by eliminating step-up-in basis ; 4) imposing a 15 percent minimum tax on book income; and 5) a tax on American energy manufacturers based on their methane production.
We still have the opportunity to halt this plan and mitigate some of the most dangerous proposals. Please visit www.stopthespendingspree.com and sign and share the letter. We must scale our opposition now more than ever. To date, you’ve helped send over 1.5 million letters, make 150 thousand phone calls and attend over 500 events held across our 35 state chapters to urge congress to end Washington waste. Now is the time to dig deeper, and push members harder than ever to stop the spending spree. I’m Ashley Klingensmith, State Director with Americans for Prosperity-Pennsylvania. Find and like us on Facebook by searching @PAAFP and find and follow us on Twitter by searching @AFPPennsylvania.
Ashley Sisca Klingensmith | State Director | Americans for Prosperity – PA