State’s unions warned of cuts before trillion-dollar tax giveaway was OK’d
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 20, 2018) — After exploding deficit spending with their $1.4 trillion tax cut for corporations and the wealthy, Congressional Republicans released a budget plan on Tuesday that aims to balance the budget over the next decade by slashing the Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs.
It was a development predicted by Washington’s labor movement last December as Republicans in Congress prepared to pass the tax cuts. Unions and retiree advocacy groups led by the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO sponsored full-page ads in newspapers across the state warning that GOP leaders intend to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits to help pay for their trillion-dollar tax plan.
On Tuesday, the House Budget Committee released a budget blueprint that proposes to cut $537 billion out of Medicare and $1.5 trillion from Medicaid over the next decade. Social Security comes in for more modest cuts of $4 billion over that period. The cuts would be achieved by privatizing Medicare and making Medicaid, which is the nation’s health care program for poor families and the disabled, a block-grant program that caps spending and imposes new work requirements.
“Republican leaders have made it clear that this irresponsible tax giveaway for people who need it the least will require cuts in spending and they have their sights set on what they call our Social Security and Medicare ‘entitlements’,” WSLC President Jeff Johnson said last December. “Those are earned benefits that working people paid for their entire lives. It would be a travesty for Congress to hand more than $1 trillion to corporations and the richest Americans, and then cut these earned benefits that seniors rely upon to survive. But that’s exactly what they intend to do.”
The GOP budget unveiled Tuesday also proposes a number of other “cost-saving measures,” including adding more work requirements for food-stamp and welfare recipients; requiring federal employees to contribute more to their retirement plans; repealing the Dodd-Frank Act that regulated banks after the financial crisis 10 years ago; and $230 billion in education and training cuts, such as reducing Pell Grant awards.
The Washington Post reports that the House Budget Committee is aiming to pass the budget blueprint this week, but in an election year, it is not clear whether GOP leaders will put the document on the House floor for a vote.
It isn’t the first time that House Republicans have targeted Social Security and Medicare for cuts since passing their trillion-dollar tax cuts. In April, the House GOP dusted off its Balanced Budget Amendment that would have forced dangerous cuts to Americans’ earned Social Security benefits and enshrine those cuts into the constitution. Washington state Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-5th), Dave Reichert (R-8th), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-3rd) and Dan Newhouse (R-4th) all voted for it, but the 233-184 vote failed to get the two-thirds majority required.
The unions’ newspaper ads last December that warned of looming Social Security and Medicare cuts were sponsored by the WSLC, Washington State Alliance for Retired Americans, Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action, Retired Public Employees of Washington, American Federation of Teachers-Washington, Machinists 751, SEIU 1199NW, Teamsters 117, UFCW 21, Washington Education Association, Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME, and the regional Central Labor Councils in each of the congressional districts. The ads appeared in the Seattle Times, (Spokane) Spokesman-Review, (Vancouver) Columbian, Wenatchee World, and Yakima Herald-Republic. (Click on the links to see each of the ads.)
Here is the text of the ads:
Next, they’re coming for your Social Security and Medicare
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Auburn) and his colleagues are about to vote on “tax reform” legislation that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says will mostly benefit corporations and the wealthy, will raise taxes on lower-income Americans, and will add an estimated $1.4 trillion to the budget deficit over the next decade.1 This tax giveaway will cost more than $5,700 for every adult in the United States!
Even worse, if this passes, they plan to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits to help pay for it.
How do we know? They said so!
Even before their tax giveaway has passed, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) said, “You also have to bring spending under control… The driver of our debt is the structure of Social Security and Medicare.”2 House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) says he wants Republicans to focus in 2018 on reducing spending on “entitlement” programs, including Social Security and Medicare.3 Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said that House Republicans will soon turn toward “tackling the entitlements.”4
Entitlements. That’s what some politicians call the Social Security and Medicare benefits that you’ve paid for your entire working life. They are planning to cut those essential benefits that you earned for your health care and basic necessities. Why? So they can pay for trillion-dollar tax cuts for the wealthy.
It’s not too late to stop this.
Any day now, a final vote will happen in the House on this tax giveaway to corporations and the wealthy. Call Rep. Dave Reichert TODAY at 202-225-7761 in Washington, D.C. and 509-885-6615 in Wenatchee and tell him to vote NO on this “tax reform” legislation.
And tell him to keep his HANDS OFF the Social Security and Medicare benefits that you have earned.
1. “Senate GOP tax bill hurts the poor more than originally thought, CBO finds,” The Washington Post (11-26-17)
2. “Sen. Rubio tells a secret: After giving a tax cut to the rich, GOP will cut Social Security and Medicare,” The Los Angeles Times (11-30-17)
3. “GOP eyes post-tax-cut changes to welfare, Medicare and Social Security,” The Washington Post (12-1-17)
4. “Republicans May Use Cuts in Entitlement Programs to Reduce Deficit,” The New York Times (11-15-17)