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Bad Deal for Millions of Americans: New Tax Law and Budget Cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

As the Democratic Leader of the House Ways & Means Committee, I strongly opposed the ill-advised Republican tax plan. The resulting law that was passed in Congress and signed by President Trump with is simply a bad deal for millions of Americans. It will raise taxes on 86 million middle class families, add $2.3 trillion to the federal debt, worsen economic inequality, and take health insurance away from 13 million Americans while raising premiums by 10 percent for everyone else. One of the many concerns I have is the negative effect this law will have on millions of our nation’s seniors. Our tax system is complicated, and contains far too many loopholes that restrains American businesses from competing on a fair playing feel in the global economy. Unfortunately, the Republican tax law simply benefits wealthy Americans, and gives false hope that the benefits from the plan will trickle down to middle class Americans, including many senior citizens.

President Trump’s harmful budget, which was crafted in order to pay for the Republican tax plan, includes major cuts in programs that will negatively the health care for those celebrating their Golden Age. For example, these cuts include a $1.4 trillion cut to Medicaid, a $532 billion cut to Medicare, and $200 billion cut to our hospitals. In my opinion, these cuts are unacceptable. I do not believe they reflect our values as a nation. That is one of many reasons why I did not support the tax plan that passed in last December.  This legislation will have a long-term, wide-ranging negative impact on Americans economic security.

President Trump’s budget also calls for a disgraceful $65 billion cut to Social Security benefits. During my time in Congress, no one has been a more consistent and outspoken supporter of Social Security and Medicare. As I have said before, these programs add years to life and life to years. Social Security and Medicare provide a critical safety net for our seniors, especially in a time of economic uncertainty. While the recipients of Social Security are typically older than fifty, they are also particularly concentrated in populations that the economy left behind – those in rural areas or the Rust Belt, without college degrees, and with limited access to quality or affordable health care. I have always believed Social Security was created as a special covenant to our seniors. I want to reassure my friends in the Berkshires and beyond that I will continue my work to protect these important benefits that our nation’s seniors have earned through years of hard work.

In my opinion, this tax bill was a missed opportunity to achieve meaningful, positive change for middle class families and our seniors. But despite this setback, I will continue to put Berkshire County families and seniors first and to work to create a more secure and prosperous future for generations to come.

This column ran in the April 2018 edition of Elder Services' Berkshire Senior.

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