The House and Senate each passed their own version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which means that now a conference committee must work out the differences between each bill to produce a final version. Both the House and Senate have appointed conferees (see below for list) that are working to come up with a bill that can pass both the House and the Senate. The private House and Senate Conferences will be meeting all week. A three hour meeting between the House and Senate Conferences is scheduled for December 13, 2017.

This means we still have a chance to stop these harmful and unpopular plans from becoming law and we urgently need your help to do so. Thank you to everyone who has called their legislators. Hill staff tell us the bill’s supporters are feeling the heat and need us to keep up the pressure.

While neither bill directly cuts Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, or other programs people with disabilities rely upon, they dramatically cut the revenue necessary to fund the programs people with disabilities rely on to live and work in the community. And many Members of Congress have recently said that cutting Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security IS precisely the plan once they pass the tax cuts.

Senate Conferees:
Republicans: Hatch (UT), Enzi (WY), Murkowski (AK), Cornyn (TX), Thune (SD), Portman (OH), Scott (SC), and Toomey (PA)
Democrats: Wyden (OR), Sanders (VT), Murray (WA), Cantwell (WA), Stabenow (MI), Menendez (NJ), and Carper (DE)

House Conferees:
Republicans: Brady (TX-8), Roskam (IL-6th), Nunes (CA-22nd), Black (TN-6th)), Noem (SD-at large), Bishop (UT-1st), Young (IA-3rd), Upton (MI-6th), and Shimkus (IL-15th)
Democrats: Neal (MA-1st), Levin (MI-9th), Doggett (TX-35th), Grijalva (AZ-3rd), and Castor (FL-14th)

TAKE ACTION

We’re hearing that a vote on the final tax bill is not going to happen this week. This delay provides us more time to protest this bill and shows that our efforts so far have been effective. Please join people with disabilities, our families, and advocates around the country today for a national call-in day to tell our Representatives to oppose the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act! We’re told that call volume on Capitol Hill has been high – keep it up!

Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121. This may be the most important vote of the year with the most far-reaching impacts for every individual and every family in the country.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is very close to reaching President Trump’s desk and becoming law. Every Representative and Senator needs to hear about your opposition to this bill! 

WHAT TO SAY:
– I am a member of the Autism Society
– Please vote NO on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
– This tax plan will significantly reduce federal revenue and will create pressure to cut Medicaid and other programs that are critical for people with disabilities.
– We cannot afford these tax cuts that disproportionately benefits the wealthiest Americans and large corporations.

The Senate tax bill is extremely dangerous to the well-being of people with disabilities.

  • Tax cuts open the door for cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Supplemental Security Income, and other services that benefit people with disabilities. While neither the House nor Senate tax bill includes direct cuts to these services, cuts are expected to follow to offset the $1.5 trillion added to the deficit due to providing large tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. Medicaid and other disability services were the target of intense cuts over the summer through the various Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal bills proposed in the House and Senate. There is no doubt that these same services remain on the chopping block to help pay for the proposed tax cuts.
  • The Senate bill eliminates the Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual mandate. The individual mandate helps make health insurance affordable. The Congressional Budget
  • Office (CBO) estimates that 13 million people would lose access to affordable coverage by 2027 if the individual mandate were eliminated. Furthermore, insurance premiums would rise by 10%, which amounts to an increase of hundreds of dollars per year for nearly 7 million middle-income Americans and by over $1,000 per year for seniors, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).
  • The Senate bill benefits the wealthiest Americans while the poorest would be worse off. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report which found that Americans earning less than $100,000 a year would, ultimately, not benefit from the proposed tax cuts. According to a Washington Post analysis of the CBO report, “By 2019, Americans earning less than $30,000 a year would be worse off under the Senate bill, CBO found. By 2021, Americans earning $40,000 or less would be net losers, and by 2027, most people earning less than $75,000 a year would be worse off. On the flip side, millionaires and those earning $100,000 to $500,000 would be big beneficiaries, according to the CBO’s calculations.”

The House bill is also damaging as it proposes to eliminate several tax deductions and credits that benefit people with disabilities. These include:

  • The Medical Expense Deduction: This tax deduction allows people to deduct large, unreimbursed medical and dental expenses that exceed 10% of their income. Approximately 8.8 million people utilize this deduction, 70% of which have an income at $70,000 or lower. Most filings are around $10,000 by people with high healthcare costs, which largely includes people with disabilities, chronic health conditions, and other medical conditions. People are allowed to deduct expenses for a variety of expenses including treatments, surgeries, medications, and medical travel.
  • The Disabled Access Credit and Barrier Removal Tax Deduction: Businesses that accommodate people with disabilities may qualify for tax credits and deductions including the Disabled Access Credit and the Barrier Removal Tax Deduction. This credit and deduction incentivizes small businesses to make their businesses accessible for disabled people. Small businesses can claim a 50% credit per year for expenditures between $250 and $10,250 that increase access and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • The Work Opportunity Tax Credit: This federal tax credit is available to employers for hiring individuals from certain target groups (including disabled people who receive services from Vocational Rehabilitation, SSI recipients, returning citizens, veterans, and long-term unemployment compensation recipients) who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment. The current tax credit for hiring a person with a disability can be as high as $2,400 for a business.

The final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act could contain any of these harmful provisions from the Senate and House bills.

Additional Resources