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General News You Want to Talk About

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151default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:26 am

*Jeremy*

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@Poppy wrote:Among these Democratic candidates, is Danica Roem, Virginia's first openly transgender person to be elected in the state, who beat Robert Marshall (who earlier this year had introduced an anti-transgender bathroom bill).    Karma!


:laughing

152default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:33 pm

Poppy

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:amused Gotta love karma sometimes. 



Update of last night's election results:

One of the Democrats who won a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates is Jennifer Carroll Foy, an African-American woman.  Also, Democrats won 12 (not 11) seats in the Virginia House of Delegates, with 3 more seats being flipped Democrat (those 3 seats were once occupied by Republican incumbents who did not seek re-election).  And 4 more seats are too close to call at this moment.

Also, Ravi Bhalla became New Jersey's first Sikh mayor (mayor of Hoboken).  :happy face


Some more positive election news from last night:

The Washington Post wrote:
From Charlotte's first female black mayor to a $10 million state Senate race: Here are all the Election Day firsts

November 8, 2017

Danica Roem is grabbing a lot of headlines for becoming one of the nation's first openly transgender elected officials.

But her election — which ousted one of Virginia's most socially conservative lawmakers — is far from the only first that happened Tuesday. Women, black women, black men, Latinas, money in politics and the surge of Democratic voters all recorded some notable firsts.

In fact, almost all of the firsts are on the Democratic side, because, well, they won almost across the board in competitive state elections Tuesday night.

Here's a rundown of some notable firsts.

Color and gender firsts


From Montana to South Carolina, at least seven cities elected their first black leader. One black woman became her city's first mayor.

First mayor of Framingham, Mass.: Yvonne Spicer, a black woman, will become the first mayor in Framingham's 317-year history. The town voted in the spring to become a city instead of a maintaining a town government.

First black female mayor of Charlotte: Charlotte Mayor-elect Vi Lyles's father didn't graduate from high school. She spent three decades as a city administrator before running for office.

First black mayor of Statesboro, Ga.: Jonathan McCollar

First black mayor of Cairo, Ga.: Booker Gainor

First black mayor of Milledgeville, Ga.: Mary Parham-Copelan

First black mayor of Georgetown, S.C.: Brendon Barber

First black mayor of Helena, Mont.: Wilmot Collins

First black mayor of St. Paul, Minn.: Melvin Carter

First Latinas elected to the Virginia House of Delegates: Democrats Elizabeth Guzman and Hala Ayala.

First Asian American female to be elected to Virginia House of Delegates: Kathy Tran, a refugee from Vietnam who fled to the United Sates when she was just 2, unseated a Republican.

LGBT firsts

Roem wasn't the only openly transgender candidate who won Tuesday. Andrea Jenkins became the first black transgender woman to be elected to public office when she won a Minneapolis City Council race. “Transgender people have been here forever, and black transgender people have been here forever,” Jenkins told The Washington Post. “I’m really proud to have achieved that status.”

In Pennsylvania, Tyler Titus became the first openly transgender person elected to the state, ever, by winning a seat in the Erie school board.

Money-in-politics first

One of the most expensive state legislative races ever culminated Tuesday. More than $10 million was spent between the two sides in a special election for an open Washington state Senate seat outside Seattle. This wasn't just about one seat; control of the entire state government was on the line. Democrats needed to flip just one seat in special elections Tuesday to effectively take control of the state Senate, and they did. Democrat Manka Dhingra ended up winning the expensive race.

That makes Washington the eighth state to be entirely controlled by Democrats. (Compared with 26 controlled by Republicans).

[. . . ]

On Tuesday, Maine voters made their state the first to expand Medicaid by ballot initiative. Maine voters approved an initiative to expand government-paid health care to tens of thousands of mostly lower-income people, the exact opposite of what Republicans in Washington have spent the past year trying to do.

But Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), who has vetoed at least five Medicaid expansions sent to him by the bipartisan state legislature, said he will not expand Medicaid until state lawmakers figure out a way to pay for it without raising taxes. In other words, this expansion is on hold for the moment.
Link:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/11/08/from-charlottes-first-female-black-mayor-to-a-10-million-state-senate-race-here-are-all-the-election-day-firsts/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_fix-firsts-230p%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.cb4bf250c1e8








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153default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:55 am

Poppy

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Wow, just wow.  Today, The Washington Post broke with news that Roy Moore, the Republican nominee for the highly contested U.S. Senate seat race in Alabama (that was vacated when Jeff Sessions became the Attorney General), had  pursued young teenage girls when he was in his thirties.  The Washington Post pursued the story; these women did not not seek out The Post.  Initially, the women were reluctant to speak with The Post.  One of the women confirmed that when she was only 14 years old, Roy Moore (again, he was in his thirties) sexually molested her.  John McCain has asked Moore to vacate the Alabama Senate race (scheduled for a special election on December 12, 2017), but other Republicans are more reluctant to abandon Moore and only have stated that Moore should step down, "if" these allegation are true.  Please contact your Senators and demand that they call for Roy Moore to step aside. 

To find out how to contact your Senators, please go here:  https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm


In other news, today the House of Representatives' Way and Means Committee passed their proposed tax bill.  The House plans to vote on their proposed bill NEXT WEEK!  Please call YOUR REPUBLICAN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE-- and urge them to vote "no" on the House tax bill!


Also today, the Senate revealed their proposed tax bill, and that differs from the House version.  This article explains the differences between the House tax bill and the Senate tax bill:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/09/your-money/how-could-a-tax-change-affect-you.html







Both versions of the Republican tax bill are widely seen as favoring the extremely wealthy and corporations. 


The Washington Post wrote:
The GOP tax plan will raise taxes on lots of people. A new analysis shows how many.

Opinion

November 9, 2017

Republicans have always been good at spin, but right now they’re facing one of the most extraordinary PR challenges they’ve ever confronted: Can they sell a bill that raises taxes on tens of millions of Americans as a glorious tax cut for everyone?

It would be an extraordinary trick if they managed to pull it off, but distracting from the facts will be no easy task.

. . .  For now, we know much more about the House’s version, so let’s start with a new analysis of that bill released by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, which has lots of detail on exactly how many people will see their taxes go down and how many will see them go up . . .

For the moment, let’s focus only on those who are going to lose. I used the TPC’s figures (from tables 3 and 4 here) to calculate numbers they didn’t detail specifically: exactly how many people’s taxes will go up if this bill is passed. And it’s a lot — a quarter of all households by 2027.

[ ... ]

Since we spend so much time talking about the middle class, let’s look at the middle quintile of the income range. This year that includes households with incomes between $48,600 and $86,100. In 2018, more than 3 million of these households will see their taxes go up. By 2027, the figure rises to more than 11 million households. The average amount that these people will see their tax bills increase is more than $1,000.

But that’s just the beginning. If you add up everyone getting a bigger tax bill, it comes out to 12.8 million households in 2018, and 47.5 million in 2027, or a quarter of all households.

If you had said a year ago that Republicans would produce a bill that raises taxes on a quarter of all American households, no one would have believed you. It isn’t just that there are many particular groups who stand to get huge tax increases — graduate students, parents who adopt children, people with large medical expenses — it’s also that they’re raising taxes on such broad swaths of the population.
Link:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2017/11/09/the-gop-tax-plan-will-raise-taxes-on-lots-of-people-a-new-analysis-shows-how-many/?utm_term=.a5489e55a489




Many other news articles confirm that 25% of all taxpayers would pay a larger tax bill in 10 years under the Republican tax plan.  

As stated earlier however, the extremely wealthy would enjoy the most tax cuts:
The Washington Post wrote:Fact Checker-Analysis

Trump's claim that the House GOP bill is 'so bad for rich people.'

November 9, 2017

“The deal is so bad for rich people, I had to throw in the estate tax just to give them something.”
— President Trump, in reported comments to Senate Democrats, Nov. 7, 2017
We do not normally fact-check secondhand comments, but the White House does not dispute this phrasing. Moreover, it cries out for a fact check. Is there really nothing in the House GOP tax plan for the rich but repeal of the estate tax?


Let’s take a look.

The facts

[ . . . ]

Both the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) and the Tax Policy Center (TPC) have published analyses of how the tax cut would benefit taxpayers in the highest income brackets — $1 million a year or higher. As expected, they tend to do better than other income groups.

Here, TPC shows that by 2027 the top 0.1 percent ($5 million and above) would experience the biggest percentage change in after-tax income and the biggest change in the average tax rate. The top 1 percent (about $1 million) would get 47 percent of the total reduction in taxes.

[ . . . ]


The JCT analysis (which does not include the impact of the estate tax repeal) shows how the taxpayers with incomes over $1 million would see their tax cuts grow over the course of the tax bill, from 2019 to 2027, while all other income groups would see their tax cuts dwindle or even turn into tax increases. (This is mainly because of expiring provisions for the middle class that Republicans claim would be retained in future tax bills, but there’s no guarantee.)

[ . . . ]

TPC came to a similar conclusion, showing the after-tax income went up for the top 0.1 percent over the course of the bill, while it shrank for every other income group.

[ . . . ]

The Pinocchio Test

Contrary to the president’s claim, the tax plan is not “so bad” for the wealthy. In fact, no matter how you slice it, the superwealthy do rather well under the House GOP proposal.
Link:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/11/09/trumps-claim-that-the-house-gop-bill-is-so-bad-for-rich-people/?utm_term=.86a6815d3220




So please call your Republican House of Representative and tell them to vote no on the the Republican tax plan!


You can find your House of Representative’s number  by calling the Capitol's switchboard at 202-224-3121.

You also may find your House of Representative's phone number by going here: 
https://www.house.gov/representatives/


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154default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Fri Nov 10, 2017 7:25 am

Lilikoiluv

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Intermediate Member II
Intermediate Member II
@Poppy wrote::amused Gotta love karma sometimes. 
What a difference a year makes.  I was shedding tears again at the election results this year, BUT this year, they were tears of relief and happiness.  

This year's results were an important barometer for next year's mid-term elections and I was on pins and needles awaiting the results.  

Last year, I sat in utter disbelief and horror as the Presidential election results came in bit by bit.  THIS YEAR, I was smiling and cheering on as the results from the different races came in! 

The people have spoken, and more importantly, the people CAME OUT AND VOTED.  The amazing results of this year's election (finally) give me hope for more positive results at next year's mid-term elections.

The results were wonderful to see (thanks for sharing the recaps, Poppy), but the Virgina results were espcially beautiful.  
--Danica Roem winning (by a significant margin) against the awful guy (his name is not worth mentioning) that authored the anti-transgender bathroom bill and called himself the "state's biggest homophobe", all while keeping to her campaign focused on the issues and not lowering herself to participate in the *other candidate*'s mudslinging . . . :guitar jamming
--election of Democratic Governor Ralph Northam over yet another awful guy not worth mentioning (also the Lt. Governor and Attorney General positions Poppy mentioned earlier) . . .  celebration dance!
--the Virginia House of Delegates also now includes Kathy Tran (the first Asian American Delegate), and Hala Ayana and Elizabeth Guzman (the first and second Latina Delegates) . . .  clapping hands
-a House of Delegates flipped from red to blue . .  :very happy

Also, Maine voting for the expansion of Medicaid in direct opposition to their Governor's efforts to block the expansion . . .  :bravo

Also, the ousting from office of guy (another name not worth mentioning) that commented that he hoped all the women at January's Women's March made it home in time to make dinner . . .  applause

Well said Rachel . . . 





History writen with the caps lock key on . . . I love that. 

These candidates came out to directly address issues and WON. 
The people CAME OUT TO VOTE and WON.
I know there's so much more goodness, but those are the ones that come to mind. 

Yup, Poppy, gotta love karma sometimes!  :big grin
#RESIST  #RISEUP


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155default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:22 pm

Poppy

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Administrator
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Hi Lilikoiluv! Hi there! 

Thank you for sharing Rachel's words.  I was touched by her passionate message.   You can see that Laurence O'Donnell was also touched.  

I agree 100% with everything you wrote!  Thank you for writing it so beautifully.  You always have such a way with words--your words just seem to always hit you right in the heart!  heart 

These words of yours especially resonate with me:
Lillikoiluv wrote:The people have spoken, and more importantly, the people CAME OUT AND VOTED.  The amazing results of this year's election (finally) give me hope for more positive results at next year's mid-term elections.

The results were wonderful to see (thanks for sharing the recaps, Poppy), but the Virgina results were espcially beautiful. 

[. . . ]

These candidates came out to directly address issues and WON. 
The people CAME OUT TO VOTE and WON.
I know there's so much more goodness, but those are the ones that come to mind.

Beautifully said, Lilikoiluv.  This is what the Democratic party needs.  Candidates with messages that address the issues, that address the needs of their communities.  When our party does this, and when people in our various communities all around our country come out and make their voices heard (through activism, and through voting)--I am hopeful of our country's future.  heart

156default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:53 pm

Poppy

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Administrator
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The Republican Tax Plan
 
Deadlines to remember:


-Week of November 13: vote on the House floor (THIS WEEK!)
-Week of November 13: mark up in the Senate Finance Committee  (THIS WEEK!)
-Week of November 20: vote on the Senate floor
 

Thus, for THIS WEEK OF NOVEMBER 13:
-We have a vote scheduled in the House on their proposed Tax bill (which already has passed the House Ways and Means Committee), AND
-We have a vote scheduled in the Senate Finance Committee for their proposed tax bill

So please CALL BOTH YOUR HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE, AND CALL YOUR SENATORS, especially if they are Republican!  Call THIS WEEK since there are votes scheduled THIS WEEK for BOTH the House of Representatives, and the Senate Finance Committee!



Here are the reasons why this tax bill is bad for so many people:


-The tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporations would increase the deficit by $1.5 trillion.  Thus, the likelihood is high that the next step after passing their tax bill, is that Republicans will then make deep cuts to domestic programs in the federal budget, including deep cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, and even possibly Social Security;

-the Republican House tax bill will eliminate the medical deduction, a deduction that many persons take who have high medical expenses, (such as elderly patients in nursing homes, parents with children with special needs , and persons with expensive medical treatment for a variety of medical conditions including those having cancer treatments);

-the Republican tax bill also eliminates the credits given to companies for clinical testing of new medication that could help patients who are hoping for a cure for a medical condition;

-the Republican tax bill also eliminates the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which encourages employers to hire people from certain groups, including unemployed and/or disabled veterans;

-the Republican tax bill eliminates  the deduction that teachers can take for using their own money to pay for school supplies;

-the Republican House tax bill eliminates the deduction that college students can take on interest on their student loans, making college education more unaffordable than ever;

-the Republican House tax bill would eliminate the Lifetime Learning Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which helps students with the cost of college;

-the Republican House tax plan would tax the earnings on endowment funds of some private colleges (thus reducing the funds that these private colleges have to help reduce students' cost of higher education);

-the Republican House tax bill would tax graduate student tuition waivers (graduate students sometimes can get their tuition waived in return for being a teacher’s assistant; the tuition that is waived was not taxed in the past).  Again, this would make higher education unaffordable;

-the Republican House tax bill will eliminate the deduction that people can take for casualty loss when their property is damaged or destroyed by natural disasters; (Note:  the Republican tax bill contains specific language to allow deductions to be taken by victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, but not by victims of the recent California wildfires—once again showing how politicians are playing reprehensible partisan politics to the detriment of the lives of the people of California who lost their homes to the recent wildfires--all because California is a blue state!);

-the Republican tax bill eliminates the deduction that workers once were able to take for the costs incurred to move their families due to a job in a new geographic area;

-both the Republican House and Senate tax bills will hurt residents of high-tax states.   The Senate tax bill will eliminate the deduction of State and Local Taxes altogether (including the elimination of the deduction for property tax), whereas the House bill will limit the deduction to property taxes up to $10,000.  The House Republican bill also will limit deductions on interest on home mortgages up to $500,000.



 
Here is how the Republican tax bills help the very wealthy (the top 1%) and corporations by giving them the largest tax CUTS by far:

-the Republican tax bill repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax (the AMT was originally designed to ensure that the riches--those making between $200,00 and $1 million--pay at least some tax by disallowing many tax breaks);

-the Republican House bill will eliminate the estate tax completely; and the Senate tax bill doubles the exemption for the estate tax (the current exemption is set at $5.49 million for individuals and $10.98 million for married couples)

 
Note that the Senate is using the “reconciliation process” so that they could pass the Senate tax bill with 51 votes, thus bypassing the need for bi-partisan support from Democratic members of Congress. 



It is vitally important that  you call your Republican Senators, as well as your Republican House of Representative THIS WEEK!



Newsweek wrote:
Robert Reich: Hello Trump Tax Cuts, Goodbye Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security . . . .

Opinion by Robert Reich

11/2/17



This article first appeared on RobertReich.org.
The goal of Trump and the Republican leaders is to pull off a giant redistribution of over $1 trillion from the middle class, working class, and poor to the rich, who are already richer than ever.

They’re selling this to the public with a false claim that the middle class will benefit from their tax cut plan. It’s a gigantic Trojan horse.

For most Americans, the proposed tax cuts are tiny and temporary. That’s right – temporary. They will shrink in just a few years. And some middle class Americans will actually get a tax increase.

Meanwhile, the top 1 percent will get a gigantic tax cut. The Tax Policy Center estimates that the current plan will save the bottom 80 percent between $50 and $450 in taxes per year, but that it saves each person in the top 1 percent an average of $129,000 a year. For people at the very top, like Trump himself, the tax cuts are humongous. And the corporations they own will also get a massive tax cut.

Republicans say economic “growth” will pay for the tax cuts, so there’s no need to cut social programs like Medicare and Medicaid.  

But Republicans have just passed a budget that would cut nearly $1.5 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid to pay for these tax cuts. Pell Grants[ grants for low-income college students], housing assistance, and even cancer research are also on the chopping block.

[. . . ]

. . . once these tax cuts are passed, the budget deficit will explode. The Tax Policy Center predicts that it will cut federal revenue by $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years.

When that happens, the only way out of the crisis will be something dramatic – exactly the cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, and maybe even Social Security – that Republicans have wanted for years.

[. . . ]

We must see the [Republican] strategy for what it is. And it must be stopped.
Link:  http://www.newsweek.com/robert-reich-hello-trump-tax-cuts-goodbye-medicare-medicaid-social-security-699501




Reuters wrote:
For U.S. Republicans, tax reform math hinges on cutting Medicare

Opinion

November 9, 2017

. . . listen carefully and you can hear the whistle blowing on another train barreling down the tracks.

Call it the Slash Medicare Express. The whistle is still a bit faint, but it is sending a clear warning signal.

A 2018 budget blueprint approved by Congress late last month would reduce Medicare spending by $473 billion over 10 years compared with the current baseline projection, and proposes $1.3 trillion in cuts to Medicaid, various Affordable Care Act (ACA) tax credits and cost sharing subsidies and other health spending. Republicans need the spending reductions to make room for $1.5 trillion in tax cuts, mostly for corporations and wealthy households.

The budget plan does not include the specifics on how these cuts will be achieved. But previous Republican plans for Medicaid - the joint federal and state health insurance program for lower-income people and children - would have been disastrous for millions of older Americans.

How about Medicare? Republicans have repeatedly called for two Medicare “reforms” in the past that would be devastating for older Americans. They would raise the age of Medicare eligibility to 67 from 65, and shift Medicare to a flat premium-support payment, or voucher, that beneficiaries would use to help buy either private health insurance or a form of traditional Medicare.
Link:  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-column-miller-medicare/for-u-s-republicans-tax-reform-math-hinges-on-cutting-medicare-idUSKBN1D91LU





The Associated Press wrote:
Bipartisan analysis: Senate bill would hike taxes for 13.8 M

November 13, 2017

Promoted as needed relief for the middle class, the Senate Republican tax overhaul actually would increase taxes for some 13.8 million moderate-income American households, a bipartisan analysis showed Monday.

The assessment by Congress’ nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation emerged as the Senate’s tax-writing committee began wading through the measure, working toward the first major revamp of the tax system in some 30 years.

[. . . ]

Trump and the Republicans have promoted the legislation as a boon to the middle class, bringing tax relief to people with moderate incomes and boosting the economy to create new jobs.

[. .. ]

The [Senate Finance] committee’s senior Democrat, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, said the legislation has become “a massive handout to multinational corporations and a bonanza for tax cheats and powerful political donors.”

The analysis found that the Senate measure would actually increase taxes in 2019 for 13.8 million households earning less than $200,000 a year. That group, about 10 percent of all taxpayers, would face tax increases of $100 to $500 in 2019. There also would be increases greater than $500 for a number of taxpayers, especially those with incomes between $75,000 and $200,000.  By 2025, 21.4 million households would have steeper tax bills.

The analysts previously found a similar magnitude of tax increases under the House bill.

A group of more than 400 millionaires and billionaires, including prominent figures such as Ben and Jerry’s founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, designer Eileen Fisher and financier George Soros, asked Congress to reject the GOP tax plan and not give cuts to the super-wealthy like themselves.

“We urge you to oppose any legislation that further exacerbates inequality,” they said in a letter made public Monday.
Link:  https://wtop.com/congress/2017/11/chairman-house-wont-agree-to-nix-property-tax-deduction-2/

*  *  *
So please call your House of Representative, and please call your Senator -- especially if they are Republican -- and tell them to vote NO on the the Republican tax plan!


You can find your House of Representative’s number  by calling the Capitol's switchboard at 202-224-3121.   You also may find your House of Representative's phone number by going here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/


To find out how to contact your Senators, please go here:  https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm


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Photo Credit: narmdaddy

157default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:46 am

Poppy

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Well, surprise, surprise, the Senate announced today that it was including the repeal of the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act  (the part of the Affordable Care Act that required people to purchase health insurance each year, and if they do not, they will pay a penalty).  This is really bad, especially for seniors and persons with pre-existing conditions, because the cost of insurance will go up for these less-healthy, less-young patients.

CNN wrote:
Individual mandate repeal to be included in Senate’s tax bill

November 15, 2017


Republican senators will include a repeal of Obamacare's individual mandate in the revised version of the chamber's tax overhaul to be released by the Senate finance committee Tuesday afternoon, according to two GOP aides.
[. . . ]

Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, told reporters on Tuesday afternoon she has concerns about repealing the individual mandate in the tax bill.

"I personally think that it complicates tax reform," she said.
 

[ . . . ]

. . . The [nonpartisan] Congressional Budget Office has estimated that repealing the individual mandate could give tax writers an additional $338 billion to reduce taxes over the next decade. The CBO also projects a mandate repeal would lead to 13 million fewer people with health insurance -- a key Democratic attack line during the health care debate.



Link:  http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/14/politics/rand-paul-individual-mandate-tax-bill/index.html



So add "partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act" to the already long list of reasons why this Republican tax bill is  bad for many people!!

The House will vote this Thursday (in a couple of days, THIS week). 


It is vitally important that  you call your Republican Senators, as well as your Republican House of Representative THIS WEEK!

You can find your House of Representative’s number  by calling the Capitol's switchboard at 202-224-3121.   You also may find your House of Representative's phone number by going here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/


To find out how to contact your Senators, please go here:  https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm


_________________

Photo Credit: narmdaddy

158default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:04 pm

Poppy

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Administrator
Administrator
The Republican House AND the Senate Finance Committee both will be voting on their respective tax plans THIS WEEK! 

The House of Representatives is further along the process, having already passed their tax bill in their Ways and Means Committee.  The House will be voting on their tax plan TOMORROW, THURSDAY! 



Please call your House of Representative AND your Senator TODAY, especially if they are Republican, and tell them to VOTE NO on the Republican tax bill!


The Republican tax bill is a sneaky way to cut Medicare and kill the Affordable Care Act.
Vox wrote:
Republicans' tax bill could trigger a $25 billion cut to Medicare

Nov. 14, 2017

The Republican tax reform bill could trigger something President Donald Trump promised would never happen: an automatic $25 billion cut to Medicare.

Republicans are trying to pass a $1.5 trillion tax cut — which the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday could trigger a sequestration across some major mandatory spending programs, like Medicare, federal student loans, and agriculture subsidies, and even some funding for customs and border patrol.

... In other words, if Republicans want to pass a tax cut, they have to pay for it with mandatory spending cuts. . .

. . . the ensuing cuts would not only break the promises of President Trump, who has repeatedly insisted that his Republican-led administration would not make changes to the popular health insurance program for the elderly, but would also result in devastating cuts to programs millions of Americans rely on daily.

. . . Medicare, the Social Services Block Grant, student loans, and mandatory spending in the Affordable Care Act (other than exchange subsidies and Medicaid expansion), among others, would all be on the chopping block.

Cuts to Medicare are capped at 4 percent, about $25 billion per year, meaning cuts to the other mandatory spending programs would have to make up the difference.

[. . .]

“Paul Ryan has said as soon as taxes are done, he’s going to entitlement reform, which is code [for] putting Medicare and Medicaid and the social safety net on the table,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said Tuesday.

. . . Republicans have shown time and time again that reforming — and cutting — Medicaid and Medicare are among its priorities.

In June, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), who sits on the House Budget Committee and is the chair of the appropriations subcommittee that manages health spending, called Trump’s promise to leave Medicare and Social Security and balance the budget a “fantasy.”

“We have been talking about Medicare and Medicaid reform all the way through,” Cole told Vox then.

Link:  https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/11/14/16651184/gop-tax-bill-medicare-cut-paygo





Among the health care groups opposing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act individual mandate are:  The American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the Federation of American Hospitals, and the American Academy of Family Physicians, along with AARP.

CNN wrote:
By combining Obamacare with taxes, GOP goes for it all

November 15, 2017

Senate Republicans plan to include a repeal of the individual mandate -- a key piece of the Affordable Care Act -- in their tax reform efforts.

[. . . ]

The mandate requires nearly all Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty. But getting rid of it has a cost.

Roughly 4 million fewer people . . .  [would lose health coverage] in the first year the repeal would take effect, the Congressional Budget Office said last week, rising to 13 million by 2027, as compared to current law.

Premiums would also rise by about 10% in most years of the decade, CBO said.

[. . .]

Re-introducing the repeal of the individual mandate also brings groups like AARP, doctors and major insurance companies out of the wood work to oppose the Republicans' plan. On Tuesday, just after Republicans announced they would include a repeal of the individual mandate, a number of health groups stated their united opposition in a letter to Congress.
Link:  http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/15/politics/individual-mandate-tax-reform/index.html




The Washington Post wrote:
In political gamble, GOP gives permanent tax cuts to corporations, but not people

November 15, 2017

The essential gamble of Republican plans to overhaul the tax code is now becoming clear: Big businesses get a large, permanent tax cut, while American families receive only temporary tax relief that expires as soon as 2023 in the House bill and 2026 in the Senate bill.

In the House bill, the tax increase would mostly hit moderate and middle-income families because a credit designed to help them expires after five years. But in the Senate plan, released late Tuesday, virtually all Americans would face higher tax rates because the individual income rate cuts go away entirely in 2026. The tax cuts for corporations do not expire.

Public opinion polls already show that many Americans believe the tax bills are designed to help the rich, not the middle class. In a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday, just 16 percent think the plan will reduce their personal taxes, and 61 percent think the wealthy will benefit the most, similar results to many other recent polls about taxes. On top of that, Democrats are trying to hammer the GOP for what they say are disproportionate benefits for businesses and the wealthy.

[. . . ]

To make the finances work, the Senate plan also includes the repeal of the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act, a change that saves the government money but would likely lead to 13 million Americans becoming uninsured, according to estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

[. . . ]

If the tax cuts do expire, many Americans might find themselves worse off than today. The rates would return to today's levels, and another provision — a less generous formula for calculating inflation — will remain as part of the law. That means people will enter higher-tax brackets faster.

According to initial analysis by Ernie Tedeschi, an economist at research firm Evercore ISI and a former Obama Treasury Department official, about 57 percent of Americans would be worse off 2027 under this revised Senate bill than they would have been under the original version. His calculations found that close to 80 percent would be worse off who earn $50,000 to $75,000.
As a result, about 57% of all filers are worse off in 2027 under the modification versus the original Senate TCJA, as written. In some income groups, like the $50K-$75K band, it's close to 80%. /7 pic.twitter.com/NfRuZIZp7N
— Ernie Tedeschi (@ernietedeschi) November 15, 2017
[. . . ]

In 1986, the last substantial overhaul of the U.S. tax code under President Ronald Reagan, Congress forced some businesses to pay more to fund a tax cut for individuals and families. In 2017, the reverse is happening: Individuals are being asked to potentially sacrifice so corporations can get a better deal.
Link:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/11/15/in-political-gamble-gop-gives-permanent-tax-cuts-to-corporations-but-not-people/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_wonk-taxplan-1130am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.c894e2e232ae



This article foresaw the path that the Republican tax bills were leading to:

Forbes wrote:

Tax Reform: A Back Door to Killing Health Care, Medicare, And More

Opinion

Nov 6, 2017

Unsurprisingly, the tax bill includes large tax cuts for the top 1% and for corporations—the "people" who count—again hurting the bulk of Americans. But that’s what this administration has been all about since Day One. Once again, the GOP is planning their tax reform without a hint of bipartisanship, behind closed doors, with zero public hearings or debate. Here’s the skinny on how the proposed tax bill will hurt us.

Medicare, Student Loans, and Farm Subsidies
The pay-as-you-go rule, also known as PAYGO, passed in 2010, means mandatory cuts elsewhere—in this case, $28 billion would get automatically slashed from Medicare early next year (and be ongoing), and student loans and farm subsidies would be slashed.

Medicaid
Medicaid would be cut by more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years in the current tax plan, a 20% cut, and more than that proposed under Graham-Cassidy or the AHCA.

Medical deductions
This provision in the proposed bill should be a deal breaker, if nothing else is. The plan is to eliminate the ability to itemize and deduct medical costs that are more than 10% of out-of-pocket health costs. This deduction is critically helpful for those with catastrophic illnesses or requiring long-term care and nursing home residents.

Need a handicap ramp or similar modification? In a small and needlessly petty provision, the GOP also will cut deductions for improvements for disability access.
No one should face a large tax increase simply because they have high medical costs. But that's what the Health Tax does. pic.twitter.com/K1pDX7J6U8
— AARP Advocates (@AARPadvocates) November 2, 2017
Good luck fighting the AARP on this, @GOP!

Children
[. . . ]

But if you are already a child in need? You are out of luck. More than a month after it expired, the House still has not renewed Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). They are trying to link funding CHIP and community health centers (which provide health care for more than 27 million people) by cutting insurance for almost 700,000 people who miss a premium payment.

Obamacare 
Having failed in repealing health care, now the GOP and Trump administration are trying to sabotage the ACA by slashing outreach and the Open Enrollment period, as I explained. While this House bill does not have a provision to repeal the Obamacare’s individual mandate, it is still being considered.

[Note:  The Senate bill now includes repealing the individual mandate of the ACA, and news media are reporting the House will include the repeal of the individual mandate of the ACA if the Senate passes their bill.]

Municipal Bonds
Tax-exempt borrowing by state and local governments for a variety of hospital, health care, education and affordable housing projects would be eliminated.

Miscellaneous provisions

[. . . ]

First, the GOP plans to tax interest payments on student loans. . .
Here's a bunch of deductions getting repealed: medical, alimony, dependent care, moving expenses, adoptions.... pic.twitter.com/bu2kZalpxC
— Lisa Mascaro (@LisaMascaro) November 2, 2017
[. . .]

Conclusion
As Andy Slavitt aptly noted, "One Senator said to me tonight: the health care bill was about hidden tax cuts. Now the tax bill is about hidden health care cuts." Since the FDR days, when President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act in 1935 to protect citizens from the “hazards and vicissitudes of life,” especially seniors and disabled people, our country has had a social compact, to protect the most vulnerable. The GOP tax proposal, as its health plan before, violates that trust.

To act:
Handy numbers to keep on hand:

House Representative:  http://www.house.gov/representatives/ or your

Senator  http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
Link:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2017/11/06/tax-reform-a-back-door-to-killing-health-care-medicare-and-more/#2d55407b7b1b


The Republicans are hitting the American public in more ways than one:  Tax increases to people who are not wealthy, and tax cuts to the very wealthy and businesses, which will result in:

-CUTS to many important social programs that help millions of people, including cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, health insurance through the ACA (the repeal of part of the ACA will cause 13 million people to lose their healthcare and will cause rises in premiums of 10%), and students loans;

-REPEALING TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR (which will increase taxes for these segments of Americans):  Teachers who spend their own money on school supplies; property losses that people suffer from due to natural disasters; high medical costs (such as will be incurred by people in nursing homes, parents with children with special needs, and people with various medical conditions such as cancer), interest on students' loans, and the State and Local taxes for high tax states. 

--Any tax new cuts under the Republican tax bill are TEMPORARY FOR INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES, with experts predicting 50% of Americans ultimately will be getting tax INCREASES, while corporations will get a PERMANENT tax CUT.


Again, PLEASE CALL YOUR HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE TODAY --especially if they are REPUBLICAN--AND TELL THEM TO VOTE NO ON THE REPUBLICAN TAX BILL!  The House is voting TOMORROW, THURSDAY!  You can find your House of Representative’s number  by calling the Capitol's switchboard at 202-224-3121.   You also may find your House of Representative's phone number by going here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/



Also, PLEASE CALL YOUR SENATORS TODAY --especially if they are [b]REPUBLICAN--AND TELL THEM[/b] TO VOTE NO ON THE REPUBLICAN TAX BILL! .  The Senate Finance Committee is voting on their tax bill THIS WEEK! 

To find out how to contact your Senators, please go here:    https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm


If you live in California, New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Alaska, Maine, West Virginia and Tennessee, it is especially important that you call your Republican House of Representative and Senator. 


House of Representatives:


Dana Rohrbacher (CA)  (202) 225-2415
Tom McClintock (CA)  (202) 225-2511
Darrell Issa (CA)  (202.225.3906
Lee Zeldin (NY)  (202) 225-3826
Elise Stefanik (NY)  (202) 225-4611
Pete King (NY)  (202) 225-7896
Dan Donovan (NY) (202) 225-3371
John Faso (NY)  (202) 225-5614
Chris Smith (NJ)  (202) 225-3765
Leonard Lance (NJ)  (202) 225-5361
Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ)  (202) 225-5034
Ryan Costello (PA)  (202) 225-4315



Senators:

John McCain (AZ)  (202) 224-2235
Jeff Flake (Arizona) (202-224-4521 
Susan Collins (Maine)  (202) 224-2523 
Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)  (202) 224-6665
Bob Corker (TN)  (202) 224-3344





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159default Re: General News You Want to Talk About on Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:31 pm

Poppy

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Administrator
Administrator
I am disappointed to say that this week the House passed their tax bill, and the Senate Finance Committee passed their tax bill. 


The week after Thanksgiving (week of November 27), the full Senate will return and try to pass their bill.


Under the Republican tax bill, low-income and middle-income persons eventually  will suffer higher taxes (after these temporary tax cuts expire).  In addition, persons with high medical costs, undergraduate and graduate students, teachers, persons who suffered property losses due to natural disasters, and others will suffer significant financial burdens as a result of the Republican tax bill.  Just as importantly, if the Republican tax bill passes, important domestic programs that were set up as social safety nets for millions of people will be cut by the Republican Congress:  programs like Medicare, Medicaid, student financial assistance, and more.

A couple of days ago on Thursday, a new report by a non-partisan committee, the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, stated that under the Republican tax bill,both low-income and middle-income persons eventually will receive tax increases.

New York Times wrote:
House Passes Tax Bill, as Does Senate Panel

Nov 16, 2017

A new analysis of the Senate bill by the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation could further complicate the bill’s trajectory. The committee said on Thursday that in 2021, the legislation would increase taxes for those earning $10,000 to $30,000. In 2027, after the individual tax cuts expire, the committee projected that those earning $75,000 or less would face higher taxes.

Link:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/16/us/politics/house-tax-overhaul-bill.html




Why should  people earning between $10,000 and $30,000, as well as people earning less than $75,000, pay higher taxes merely to give tax cuts to the very wealthy and to corporations?!


In addition, the media is combing through the Republican tax bills and finding language in the bills that indicate that the very wealthy and corporations will be receiving more cuts than the $1.5 trillion in cuts  that the Republicans claim will result from their tax bill.

New York Times wrote:
Accounting ‘Gimmicks’ n G.O.P.’s Tax Overhaul Mask Higher Cost, Deficit Hawks Say

Nov 17, 2017
 
As Republicans march forward with their $1.5 trillion tax bill, budget experts are warning about what they say are an alarming array of accounting gimmicks intended to mask the true cost of the tax cuts.

[. . .]

“In some ways, this whole bill is a gimmick,” Stan Collender, a former staff member for Democrats on the House and Senate Budget Committees, said of the Senate tax bill. “Rather than just do a tax cut that costs $1.5 trillion, they decided to do a $2 trillion-plus tax cut and lie about it costing $1.5 trillion.”

Some experts say the cuts, if accurately accounted for, could translate into slower economic growth and bigger budget deficits in the long run. If the cuts are not temporary, they will have to be paid for with additional debt, which will add to the federal deficit and increase the interest costs the United States must pay when it borrows money.

The budget maneuvers are meant to help Republicans stay within the $1.5 trillion box they created that allows them to pass a tax bill without Democratic votes. Under budget reconciliation rules that allow for a party-line vote, Republicans can add no more than $1.5 trillion to the budget deficit over 10 years and cannot add to the deficit at all beyond that period.

Such sleights of hand in accounting are more prevalent in the Senate plan, which makes many of its cuts temporary or delays their enforcement. For instance, the Senate bill delays the corporate tax cut, which will fall to 20 percent from 35 percent, by one year for savings of about $100 billion. It also saves about $240 billion by making the individual income tax cuts [for non-wealthy individuals] “temporary” and setting them to expire in 2025.

[. . .]

According the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the real cost of the Senate legislation that the Joint Committee on Taxation says will cost $1.41 trillion over a decade would be $2.2 trillion if all the temporary changes were made permanent. The group estimates that the nation’s debt, which has surpassed $20 trillion, would exceed the size of the economy by 2028 under the plan — a level the United States has not reached since World War II.

Link:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/17/us/politics/accounting-manuevers-republican-tax-overhaul.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region®️ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news




This calendar year has been awful in terms of the number and severity of natural disasters that have hit the U.S:  Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, and multiple wild fires in California.  Disaster relief costs billions of dollars this year, and critics are saying that much more aid is needed.  So why are the Republicans deciding to give a tax cut for the very wealthy and corporations, but at the same time, Republicans have been ungenerous to Americans who desperately need further federal assistance for disaster relief?!  In addition, why are Republicans planning to make cuts to  domestic programs that help millions of people, in order to offset the costs of disaster relief, but yet give away trillions of dollars in PERMANENT tax cuts to the very wealthy and corporations?  *Cough*  Just do not give trillions of dollars in tax cuts to the very wealthy and corporations, especially during a time when so many Americans desperately need help!  Problem solved!

New York Times wrote:
White House Requests More Disaster Aid but Also Seeks Cuts as Deficits Rise

Nov 17, 2017

The White House asked Congress on Friday for $44 billion in additional relief in response to this year’s devastating hurricanes, but facing rising budget deficits and pushing a tax cut that could cost $1.5 trillion, the administration also suggested that lawmakers make spending cuts to offset disaster costs.

Republicans have been conspicuously quiet about the ballooning national debt as they press to enact deep tax cuts before the end of the year. The deficit for the 2017 fiscal year totaled $666 billion, an increase of $80 billion from the previous year. And spending continues to climb.

Disaster relief costs are now approaching $100 billion, with more likely to come. And congressional leaders are eyeing a deal that would allow nondefense and military spending to burst through strict caps put in place in 2011, . . .

. . . Administration officials laid out a menu of options for budget cutting, totaling $59 billion, from small nicks like $8 million from a rural energy program to far larger options, such as $3.9 billion from student financial aid and $1 billion from transportation infrastructure funds.

Some of those proposals were sure to raise eyebrows. To pay for hurricane reconstruction, the White House suggested cutting nearly $520 million from the Army Corps of Engineers’ flood control and coastal emergencies account, which the White House identified as excess money from Hurricane Sandy relief.

[. . . ]

It was not lost on Democrats that the administration suggested offsetting the cost of disaster relief but has offered no such concern for the far larger cost of the proposed tax cuts.

“Just one day after pushing the House to pass a massive tax cut for corporations and the wealthy that would add $1.5 trillion to the debt, it is galling that the administration is requesting offsets in exchange for helping Americans rebuild their lives,” said Representative Nita M. Lowey of New York, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee.

[. . . ]

Representatives Mike Thompson and Jared Huffman, both Democrats of California, were incensed that the request specified no money for Northern California, which was ravaged last month by wildfires.

“This is a new low for this administration,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement. “Either they have forgotten about the thousands of American citizens who’ve lost everything in the California fires, or they just don’t care.”

Link:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/17/us/politics/trump-disaster-relief-hurricanes-wildfire-tax-cuts.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region®️ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news






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