Update on the original Action Alert below, from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities: As we emailed over the weekend, it is critical that we keep up the advocacy against the tax bill with the House. The report that we got from the Hill this morning is that targets in the House were pounded with opposition to the bill over the weekend. Keep it up!Re timing of the bill, we know that a vote in the House is scheduled for 6 pm today. While the intel we are getting is that the vote is likely going to be to set up a conference, it still is possible that the House could just vote to accept the Senate bill. And the timing of a conference is complicated by the other work that Congress needs to do this week to keep the government open. We'll be sending another update late today. In case it is helpful to your advocacy, here is the CCD fact sheet on the worst impacts of the tax bill on people with disabilities; here is a link to call, email, and with talking points; and here is a recent alert from AAPD with lots of resources. CCD Fiscal Policy Task Force ==========
Early Saturday morning (around 2am Eastern Time), the Senate passed their version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This vote in the middle of the night left little to no time for other Members of Congress and the general public to review the content of the bill. Since the House of Representatives passed their version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) in mid-November, the House and Senate must now reconcile their versions of the bill. This is expected to happen in Conference Committee starting today. It is also possible that the House will pass the Senate’s version of the bill as is.
Either way, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is very close to reaching President Trump’s desk and becoming law. NOW is the time to call your Representative and tell them to OPPOSE this dangerous bill!
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.
While neither tax bill includes direct cuts to Medicaid or other disability services, these cuts are expected to follow to offset the roughly $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.
Contact your Representative and tell them to oppose this bill!
This tax bill will hurt people with disabilities and their families.
Tax reform should not be rushed. People should have time to understand the legislation and how they will be affected.
Services that benefit people with disabilities and low-income Americans – such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Supplemental Security Income – are in danger of losing funding to help pay for these proposed tax cuts.
Eliminating the individual mandate will reduce access and increase costs for people with disabilities and all Americans.
Call your Representative
Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY) and ask to be connected to your Representative.