Without a single hearing or expert testimony, House Republicans are jamming a major bill through the House that will rewrite our tax code. And from all analysis, it appears the middle class will be hit hard by their proposed changes. The Republican bill repeals dozens of measures that middle-class families depend on to lower their federal taxes and make ends meet.
The medical expense deduction will be repealed, forcing elderly Americans and those who’ve experienced medical emergencies to pay more in federal taxes. Almost 9 million middle-class Americans with expensive illnesses received $87 billion in relief in 2015 alone.
The student loan interest deduction would also be repealed. Students are already leaving college with unprecedented amounts of debt, and this would make higher education even more expensive for students and their families.
Republicans also want to limit the mortgage interest deduction. This would not only make it harder, or sometimes impossible, for families to afford to buy a home, but could decrease homeowners’ property values by 10 percent or more.
Tax credits to finance and build affordable housing will be gone, making it harder for low- and middle-income families to rent a home.
The state and local tax (SALT) deduction would be limited. This allows families in states like California to deduct their state and local taxes from their federal taxes.
California is already a “donor state,” meaning we pay more in federal taxes than we get back in benefits — 87 cents on the dollar. That means we subsidize lower-income states like Alabama, which receives approximately $2.03 in benefits for every $1 it pays in federal taxes. This bill would make it even worse for Californians.
This legislation is bad news for California and for middle-class families across our county and, in our district, this will have real impacts.
About 40 percent of the people in our district claim an average deduction of $15,167 through the SALT deduction. That money stays in their pocket. It is not sent to other states.
This bill also repeals a measure that allows disaster survivors to deduct some of the costs of destroyed property. This could mean families who have just lost everything in the recent fires would be left without important tax relief. Republicans have said repealing this deduction wouldn’t hurt disaster survivors. Why, then, did the author of the bill, Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, write in an exemption for his constituents — those hit by the recent hurricanes — allowing them to continue to use this deduction?
This is wrong.
To add insult to injury, this bill isn’t paid for and adds an extra $1.49 trillion to our already too high national debt. With current low interest rates, that amount will grow to $1.7 trillion. But as we know, interest rates are low until they’re not. If they rise, the amount added to our national debt will grow even further. This debt will be shouldered by our kids and grandkids.
That, too, is wrong.
Congressman Chris Collins, R-New York, explained exactly why Republicans are jamming this through Congress. “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again,’” he said.
That, too, is wrong.
That’s a quid pro quo. That’s not how a democracy is supposed to work.
I’ll continue to do everything I can to fight this irresponsible bill and to let House Republicans know how bad this bill is for families in our district and across our country.