The “Not One Penny” coalition of progressive activists called a national day of action against the Trump Tax Plan on Tuesday. Here in Nevada, that meant yet another group of constituents paying Senator Dean Heller’s (R) Las Vegas office a visit. They demanded that Heller revoke his support for a tax plan that essentially redistributes wealth from the working poor and middle class to the wealthiest 1% of Americans.
What happened last week, and why has it sparked outrage?
Last Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the Trump Tax Plan, with 13 Republicans joining all 192 Democrats to vote against. Even though President Donald Trump has called the tax plan a “middle-class tax cut”, research shows that both versions if the tax plan distribute the vast majority of tax cuts to the wealthiest 1% of Americans. In addition, both versions would raise taxes on at least half of Americans by letting temporary rate cuts expire in 2027 while permanently eliminating various deductions.
As Senate Republican leaders try to gather enough votes to pass their version of the Trump Tax Plan by the end of the year, the Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans (NARA) and local Indivisible activists returned to Heller’s Las Vegas office to demand “Not One Penny” be spent on the tax plan or cut from social safety net programs.
“We have seniors who are making choices today. Am I going to eat, or will I get my medicine?”
– Sue Bird, NARA
Outside Heller’s office, NARA Recording Secretary Sue Bird warned of the the budget cuts that either bill would trigger. Why’s that? Due to a series of federal budget laws, including the 2010 Pay As You Go Act and the 2011 Budget Control Act, either version of the Trump Tax Plan would trigger automatic budget cuts across the board.
Bird expressed concern over how these budget cuts would hit Nevada seniors, as neither Medicaid nor Medicare would be spared. “If they cut Medicare and Medicaid, that affects people.” Bird continued, “We have seniors who are making choices today. Am I going to eat, or will I get my medicine?”
“It’s just bad economic policy. That’s all there is to it.”
– Jim Barker, Paradise/Las Vegas Indivisible
Jim Barker, an activist with Paradise/Las Vegas Indivisible, seconded Bird’s concerns about the automatic budget cuts that the either tax bill would trigger. Barker then questioned the need for either version of the Trump Tax Plan. “It’s just bad economic policy. That’s all there is to it.”
Barker then proposed an alternative tax cut program: “The middle class doesn’t need to get the money second-hand, through ‘trickle-down economics’.” He continued, “If they really want to help the middle class, give the tax cut directly to the middle class.”
They’re taking things away so that the 1% can get a deduction to own an airplane?! […] That is not American.”
– Sue Bird, NARA
Both the House and the Senate are currently off for the Thanksgiving holiday this week. However, Republican leaders are expected to bring the Senate version of the Trump Tax Plan to the floor when the Senate returns to legislative business next week. Even as other Republicans have expressed doubts with the bill, Heller has maintained steadfast support for it.
Sue Bird and Jim Barker hope Heller reconsiders. “There are so many things being taken away from working families, [such as] our deductions and our health care,” Bird said. “They’re taking things away so that the 1% can get a deduction to own an airplane?! […] That is not American.”