Responses from: Gary C. Peters (D)
No responses from: Justin Amash (R) , Debbie Stabenow (D)
THE MCEZ CORE PRINCIPLE FOR MAY IS EXCELLENCE.
May 5, 2017
April 25, 2017
April 18, 2017
Dear Representative Amash:
Subject: Library; Children's Library services; Local development; Unemployment;
Underemployment; Computer literacy; Starting a business; Rural development
Thank you for service. I am writing today of an issue of great concern to me.
In reading the Hastings Banner, dated April 6, 2017 I learned of the Trump administration plan
to greatly reduce library funding. In this article entitled “'Library service to face major cuts in
Trump's proposed budget” I learned just what is on the chopping block (“ ham stringed or
eliminated”): summer reading, children's literacy, Michigan library e bases, inter-library book
loans, staff training. And and all this is just for starters.
By way of introduction, I am a resident of Michigan's third district, a library Tween Room and
Book Store volunteer; most recently, a volunteer in the capacity of library board member.
The Hastings Public Library does so much! It has been referred to as the jewel of Hastings.
Hastings Public library contributes support to over 150 different services, examples of which
are: Vita Tax Preparation, the court system, thrift club, quilt making club, and chess for youth.
This is in addition to traditional services.
Libraries reduce unemployment as well as underemployment. Computer literacy, or just lack
of a computer has been an employment barrier for many, as documented in the employment
literature. Our library offers free WIFI, as well as group or individualized computer training.
Information on starting a business is available in the second floor Business Library, and by
extension through the data bases. Libraries serve to develop communities, as well as
individuals. We citizens need lifelong learning in this information age.
At a personal level, I use inter-library loan services ( Mel Cat) weekly. I've used the open
computers there for employment search, as well as for computer literacy training. At different
times, I have been part of book clubs, Great Decisions ( foreign policy), Calvin College
Speaker Series, art and crafts hosting. I can not imagine life without the Hastings Public
library ( or a reduced library) and do not want to!
My concern is that if funding is thrown back to the state of Michigan, Michigan will not be able
to absorb the cost Also if it is thrown back on the local government, the local community will
not be able to afford these services. Hastings is a small rural community without a major
industrial tax base.
My question is: As an Elected Official representing Michigan what is your position regarding
the Trump administration's budget to reduce funding for public libraries ?
I look forward to hearing from you. If I do not hear from you I will contact you again.
policy and disclaimer statement
Thank you letter:
MCEZ Core Principle for SEPTEMBER is Intelluctual Diversity!
September 25, 2017
Subject: Library; Children's Library services; Local development; Unemployment; Underemployment;
Computer literacy; Starting a business; Rural development
Dear Senator Peters:
Thank you for your response of September 20 to my letter of April 18 attached below. I look forward to
hearing from you again.
policy and disclaimer statement
September 20, 2017
Thank you for contacting me about library services. I appreciate you taking the time to express your
views. Your input is, and always will be, welcomed and appreciated.
Michigan is home to 670 public libraries across the state that make communities stronger by serving
as drivers of educational and economic success. Our libraries provide Michiganders with essential
public services ranging from career assistance for former veterans to summer reading programs for
low-income students. Many individuals, especially those in rural areas, rely on free library Internet
access for conducting research, taking online classes, and applying for jobs. I am committed to
supporting investments in library services that promote learning, innovation, and economic
development opportunities throughout Michigan.
In May 2017, President Trump released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget proposal. I disagree with
his suggestions to significantly cut funding for our neighborhood libraries. His proposed budget asks
Congress to eliminate funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), which would
make it difficult for libraries to address community needs and retain skilled librarians. It also suggests
that congressional appropriators defund the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program that
helps school libraries and nonprofits provide books and childhood literacy activities to vulnerable
families. I sent letters to my colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee urging them not to
follow the President’s recommendations to cut these critical library programs. As the FY 2018
appropriations process moves forward, I will continue fighting for robust funding for LSTA and IAL.
Thank you again for contacting me. I always enjoy hearing from you and hope that you take the
time to contact me again soon. For more information, please feel free to visit my website,
Gary C. Peters
United States Senator
Thank you letters were sent to EO Responders below:
Steve Daines (R), Dean Heller (R), Robert Casey (D), James Lankford (R),
James Inhofe (R), Jeff Merkley (D), Jack Reed (D), Jon Tester (D), Pat Toomey (R),
Ron Wyden (D), Lamar Alexander (R), Tammy Baldwin (D), John Barrasso (R), Maria Cantwell (D),
Shelley Moore Capito (R), John Cornyn (R), Mike Enzi (R), Lindsay Graham (R), Margaret Wood
Hassan (D), Orrin Hatch (R), Heidi Heitkamp (D), John Hoeven (R), Ron Johnson (R),
Tim Kaine (D), Patrick Leahy (D), Joe Manchin (D), Robert Menendez (D), Patty Murray (D),
Rob Portman (R), Bernie Sanders (I), Tom Scott (R), Thom Tillis (R), Mark Warner (D)
Third Sendings were sent to EO Responders below:
Deb Fischer (R), Ben Sasse (R), Catherine Cortez Masto (D), Jeanne Shaheen (D) Cory Booker (D),
Martin Heinrich (D), Tom Udall (D), Kirsten Gillibrand (D), Charles Schumer (D) Richard Burr (R),
Ohio Sherrod Brown (D), Sheldon Whitehouse (D), Mike Rounds (R), John Thune (R), Bob Corker (R), Ted Cruz (R), Mike Lee (R)
Original Letter sent:
The MceZ Core Principle for November is PRIDE Open Letter for publication in Mcezupedia..
November 24, 2017
Subject: Tax cuts for the wealthy; evisceration of the middle class; 3 trillion dollar deficit; trickle down economics; HealthCARE, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and SSI benefits drastically reduced
Thank you for your public service.
Summary: H.R.1 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Introduced in House (11/02/2017)
This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to reduce tax rates and modify policies, credits, and deductions for individuals and businesses.
With respect to individuals, the bill:
Can you guarantee that under the duration of this Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the middle class will not see a tax increase, that corporations will pay the flat 20% as well as create a 50% increase in high-wage US jobs?
Can you guarantee citizens will not see their HealthCARE, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and SSI benefits reduced under the duration of this Tax Cut and Jobs Bill to pay for the 3 trillion dollar deficit?
The Senate is scheduled to vote on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act this Thursday, November 30, 2017. If I have not heard from you very shortly, I will contact you again.
Policy and Disclaimer Statement
Thank You Letters:
The MceZ Core Principle for December is RESPECTFULNESS!
Open Letter for publication in Mcezupedia.
December 9, 2017
Subject: Tax cuts for the wealthy; evisceration of the middle class; 3 trillion dollar deficit; trickle down economics; HealthCARE, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and SSI benefits drastically reduced
Thank you for your response of to my letter of attached below.
Corporations have made it clear that the 15% tax cut from 35% to 20% will not go toward creating new, high wage jobs. This permanent giveaway will go to investors. Corporate earnings are currently at a record high, while job growth and wages remain stagnant. Trickle down economics is a Republican Party myth that assumes voter ignorance, short-sightedness and gullibility. This bill is decidedly unpopular with the American people.
The following statements were made by 3 prominent Republicans. Credibility of the Republican party notwithstanding, these statements reflect not only the party's elitism, but its disdain for the poor, working and middle class taxpayer and citizen– as a disposable burden.
11.30.17 Senator Orrin Hatch (in the context of CHIP)
I believe in helping those who cannot help themselves but would if they could. I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything.
12.2.17 Senator Chuck Grassley (in the context of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Bill)
“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing,” Grassley told the Register in a story published Saturday. “As opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”
12.3.17 Speaker Paul Ryan (who reportedly received Social Security Survivor benefits from age 16 to age 18)
“We're going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit,” Ryan said on Ross Kaminsky's radio.
Donors pay for campaigns. Government is funded by taxpayers. Elected Officials' are supported financially by tax payer dollars.
In spite of Gerrymandering and voter suppression which have favored Republicans and are being challenged, election outcomes are determined by voters voting for a secure future for subsequent generations. Politicians running for office should also maintain this focus with integrity and honesty.
I look forward to contacting you in the future. Thank you, again.
Best regards,Eunice Beck
Policy and Disclaimer Statement
From Senator Daines
November 30, 2017 Dear Mrs. Beck,
Thank you for contacting me to voice your concerns with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. I value your perspective and appreciate the opportunity to respond.
I believe tax reform is the single most important piece of legislation that Congress can pass to ensure the economy continues to grow and create more good-paying jobs, and allow our companies to compete throughout the world. Both the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee recently released their proposals for the first major overhaul of the tax code in more than 30 years. The Senate bill provides middle-class tax relief by lowering rates and nearly doubling the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals ($24,000 for married couples and $18,000 for single parents). Additionally, this legislation would double the child tax credit and double the estate tax exemption, while maintaining the child and dependent care tax credit, the adoption tax credit, deductions for medical expenses and student loan interest, and the current rules for building retirement savings through 401(k)s.
Importantly, the Obamacare individual mandate, which is essentially a tax on the poor, is effectively repealed under this legislation. In Montana alone, 75% of the people who pay this poverty tax make under $50,000 per year, and more than 37% make under $25,000. According to the Internal Revenue Service, in 2015 (the most recent year with state-by-state data) nearly 30,000 Montanans paid over $14 million in Obamacare's tax penalties because they could not afford or did not want to buy insurance. Removing this burden from the poor and middle-class is an important step.
It is important to note that, according to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), under the Senate proposal each income bracket will see a proportional decrease in average tax burden. JCT found that those making under $100,000 will see their share of total federal taxes decreased compared to current law. Further, JCT found that those making between $20,000 and $30,000 will benefit the most with a 10.4 percent decline in their tax burden.
Tax reform is also needed to allow U.S. companies to stay competitive. In recent years, a steady yet consistent stream of companies has moved cross-border and overseas to countries like Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. To retain American jobs, Congress must act to put our country on a level playing field with foreign competitors. The TCJA addresses this lack of competitiveness by lowering the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% and eliminating incentives for companies to shift jobs and intellectual property overseas. The legislation also addresses small businesses by simplifying deductions for pass-through businesses. I am working to ensure that these reforms are well crafted and empower Montana's small businesses to create jobs and increase wages.
The current legislation is open to full debate and amendment when the legislation comes before the full Senate in the coming weeks. Please know that I will continue to push for a tax code that will invigorate our economy, create good-paying jobs, and make the country, and Montana, reach their true potential as economic leaders. I appreciate your input on individual components of the bill as well as your thoughts on the bill as a whole, and I will keep your thoughts in mind as this process moves forward.
Again, thanks for contacting me. It is my number one priority in the Senate to represent the values and interests of the people of Montana, and your input is very helpful as I do. I invite you to visit my website, www.daines.senate.gov, for updates about activities in Washington that affect our lives in Montana or to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you again in the future.
Sincerely, Signature Steve Daines
United States Senator
From Senator Lankford
November 28, 2017
Dear Mrs. Eunice Beck,
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts about tax reform in the 115th Congress. Oklahomans have contacted my office to share their concerns and hopes for what tax reform might look like for their families as well as our economic health. Please know that as we walk through the legislative process, I will work to ensure that changes to the tax code provide relief for Oklahoma families and businesses.
It is clear our country needs fundamental tax reform that allows families and businesses to keep more of their hard-earned money, invest in our economy, and help create more private-sector jobs. In response to those concerns, in October 2017 the U.S. Senate initiated the formal legislative process of reforming the federal tax system. By using the congressional budget reconciliation process, the eventual tax-reform package can pass with a simple majority in the Senate and House. (This is the same process that was used in 2001 during the last changes to our tax code.) I voted in favor of the reconciliation bill as a first step toward comprehensive tax reform.
As you may know, in November 2017, House and Senate Republicans have both released their own versions of a tax reform bill known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. You can read the full House text here and a section-by- section of the Senate proposal here. It is important to note that neither plan is final and will be changed further through Senate floor proceedings and amendments, eventually merging the two bills into a final legislative proposal.
Tax reform has been an ongoing conversation over the last seven years. Since 2011, the Senate Committee on Finance has held 70 hearings on the tax code and its future. Several variations and guiding principles have been introduced and reworked as the American people have made their voices heard on issues such as the Border Adjustment Tax, which both chambers removed from their previous proposals.
In the upcoming weeks, Congress will continue to debate what must be done to simplify the nation's tax code and spur economic growth. On November 16, 2017, the House passed its tax reform plan in a vote of 227-205. The Senate's plan will likely come to the floor for a vote this week. After the bill passes the Senate, both the House and Senate versions will move to what is known as a Conference Committee, which is made up of members of both the House and Senate, to resolve the differences between the chambers' tax reform plans. The earliest the Senate would take that bill up for final passage is likely the week of December 11, 2017.
I will review all tax reform proposals as they are amended in the coming weeks to ensure changes bring relief to Oklahomans and our fellow Americans across the nation.
Many provisions of the current tax code contain special carve-outs that serve special interests with limited public benefit. The narrow carve-outs are emblematic of the reason Congress must take on comprehensive tax reform and stop placing special interests ahead of families and businesses. The Senate's plan would eliminate many carve-outs while maintaining some tax credits designed to boost the economy, protect American families, and benefit communities with a new tax code that includes, but is not limited to:
doubling the standard deduction so the first $24,000 of income is tax-free; preservation of the deduction for charitable donations;
incentives for current and aspiring homeowners; elimination of the Affordable Care Act individual mandate;
protections for retirement savings plans like 401Ks and IRAs;
tax relief for parents through an increased child tax credit and a preserved adoption tax credit;
and security for Americans with family farms and businesses by at least doubling the current exemption for the estate tax.
Reforming the tax code for small businesses and corporations allows companies to hire more people, engage in more investment, build more factories, and buy more machinery—growing the American economy. When American businesses can hire more employees, competition increases leading to higher wages to incentivize workers. More people returning to the workforce means more people actually paying taxes.
My office hears from Oklahomans and small businesses who have difficulty navigating the IRS and complying with the complex U.S. tax code. Currently, the federal tax code is 74,608 pages, which means the tax code is 187-times longer than it was a century ago. With the increasing complexity of the tax code, Americans spend around 7 billion hours each year complying with it. Working Oklahomans and small businesses cannot afford to continue the status quo that takes so much time away from their families and work. If given a clean slate, no one would design our tax code as it currently functions.
As Congress and the Administration work together to achieve long-overdue comprehensive tax reform, I remain committed to simplifying the tax code, reducing the burden on Oklahoma's lower and middle classes, and restoring a culture of transparency and accountability at the IRS. With our national debt reaching $20 trillion this year and a $666 billion deficit for fiscal year 2017, Congress must craft tax reform in a financially responsible way that does not leave our future generations with more debt. I am working with my colleagues in the Senate to build in a fiscal backstop designed to head off deficit increases if tax reform fails to pay for itself through future economic growth.
Please remain engaged with my office going forward about specific portions of these proposals. We will do everything we can to provide you with facts and information as they become available. Please also feel free to contact me again via email at www.lankford.senate.gov for more information about my work in the United States Senate for all of us.
In God We Trust,
James Lankford United States Senator
From Senator Inhofe
Jim_Inhofe@inhofe.senate.gov Nov 30, 2017
Dear Mrs. Beck:
Thank you for your correspondence. As your voice in Washington, I appreciate knowing your concerns.
There is strong support in Congress and the Trump Administration to reform the current tax code to make it simpler, fairer, and more efficient. Today, Americans collectively spend billions of hours and dollars complying with a needlessly complex tax code. Furthermore, we have a tax code riddled with breaks and deductions that benefit only those with extensive resources dedicated to tax planning purposes.
We now have an historic opportunity, after years of tax reform efforts, to pass serious tax reform that will provide tax relief to American families and improve the country’s economic competitiveness. I am pleased the House and the Senate are working to put forward reform proposals to achieve these goals. On November 16, the House passed H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Senate Finance Committee also passed its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which the Senate will vote on in the coming days.
While there will be modifications to the bill during Senate consideration, I am pleased the Senate proposal will make the tax code work for Oklahoma families and businesses. Everyone wants to keep more of their hard-earned money, and this bill will cut taxes for the typical American family of four by nearly $2,200. What is more, it will double the standard deduction, increase the child tax credit, and simplify the filing process. The tax reform plan also will unlock the economic potential of our state and nation by lowering taxes on businesses— especially small businesses. By protecting the oil and gas industry’s percentage depletion and intangible drilling cost provisions, the tax reform plan recognizes the important role of key industries in Oklahoma that create jobs and invest in our state.
The last time our tax code was reformed was under President Reagan in 1986 and it led to strong economic growth for our country. I look forward with working with President Trump and my Senate colleagues as we work to grow wages and increase the economic opportunity for all Americans through a tax reform.
Again, thank you for bringing your concerns to my attention; I will be mindful of them as we begin consideration of tax relief legislation in the Senate. If you are interested in keeping up with my work in the Senate, I encourage you to sign up for my online newsletter by visiting: http://www.inhofe.senate.gov/newsletter/signup.
Sincerely, James M. Inhofe
United States Senator
From Senator Merkley
Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns about the Republican tax plan. I share your concerns and strongly oppose this legislation.
The sweeping and partisan tax bill is a scheme – the biggest bank heist in American history – to give more trillions of dollars in tax breaks to corporations and the richest Americans, while imposing more and more of the burden on working and middle-class American families.
The Senate version of the Republican tax plan passed the Senate on December 2, 2017, along party lines by a vote of 51-49. This disastrous bill increases taxes for 87 million working families, and double taxes many Oregonians’ incomes by limiting the ability to deduct your state and local income taxes on your federal return. Meanwhile, it gives tax breaks to the privileged top one percent of Americans and to large corporations. Further, it adds $1.5 trillion to our national debt in the process.
As if this wasn’t enough harm to working Americans, Republicans repealed a portion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that would cause chaos in the insurance market, and result in 13 million more uninsured people within the next decade and a 10 percent increase in premiums above the already-forecasted increases for those who remain covered.
This bill was written for and by special interests. Hours before calling for a vote, Senate Republicans included a couple dozen new loopholes written by lobbyists. Among the worst provisions was a modification that would have allowed one college, with ties to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ family, to be exempted from a new tax on its endowment. This provision was written for a single college in America. I offered and passed an amendment, with bipartisan support, to close this carve out in the tax code, but many more special deals remained in the bill as passed.
In addition, this tax bill will have ripple effects that further damage many Americans. The budget that mapped out these tax cuts also proposed cutting Medicaid by $1 trillion and Medicare by over $470 billion. It would mean cuts to education, medical research, child care, and infrastructure investments.
I strongly believe that these are the wrong priorities. Our tax policy should help working families, not put more money in the pockets of those who already are doing very well. We need to invest in our people and our long- term future, but this tax plan loots our national wealth for those who need it least. If Congress thinks that we have trillions to spend, we should invest in jobs, education, and health care to help families prosper.
As Congress moves to reconcile differences in the House of Representatives and Senate bills, I will continue to adamantly oppose this tax scam and fight for tax fairness.
Thank you for sharing your concerns with me. I hope you will continue to send your concerns my way. All my best,
Jeffrey A. Merkley
United States Senator
From Senator Reed
December 4, 2017
Dear Mrs. Beck:
Early Saturday morning, Senate Republicans voted to raise taxes on the American middle class by passing the socalled Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by a vote of 51 to 49. I voted against this unfair, disastrous tax scheme.
The Republican-Trump tax plan fails to deliver for the vast majority of Rhode Island families. It would benefit the most powerful corporate interests and the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) finds that by 2027, those making $40,000 to $50,000 would see their taxes go up by $5.3 billion. Meanwhile, those earning over $1 million would get a $5.8 billion cut. As a result, this bill would increase our nation's deficit by $1 trillion or more, increasing the budget pressure on vital middle class programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and others.
Republicans decided to pay for part of their corporate tax cuts by repealing the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act. Repealing the mandate would leave 13 million Americans uninsured and drive up premiums for everyone, especially older and sicker Americans. It is unconscionable and unfair that the bill, according to the CBO and other nonpartisan experts, would raise taxes on working families, increase health care costs, and put in motion billions of dollars in Medicare cuts - all to provide massive tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and multi-national corporations.
I spoke on the Senate Floor to oppose the Republican tax proposal, which you can watch here. As this bill goes to a Conference Committee between the Senate and the House, I encourage you to stand with me to call for a better deal, a plan that would responsibly cut taxes for working families, invest in the middle class, and grow Rhode Island small businesses.
To get my most up-to-date thoughts on this and other matters, you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and my website or sign up for my newsletters.
Sincerely, Jack Reed
United States Senator
From Senator Tester
Senator Jon Tester <email@example.com> Dec 8, 2017
Thank you for contacting me about the important debate over tax reform. I appreciate your feedback.
The Senate rushed through an unpopular tax giveaway that will add another $1.5 trillion to the national debt. I joined a bipartisan group of senators in opposing this legislation because it was a nearly 500-page bill drafted behind closed doors. The authors released the bill just hours before the vote, so nobody had time to read it.
They were in such a hurry they hand-scribbled additions to the text in the margins of the pages, which nobody could read. This is Washington dysfunction at its worst, and it's the exact opposite of "draining the swamp" that so many of us Montanans expect.
Montanans deserve comprehensive and transparent tax reform that simplifies taxes for working families and small businesses, creates jobs, and spurs economic growth. That is why I reached out to President Trump's Administration and offered to work with them on a bipartisan plan that works for rural America. Unfortunately, they refused to work together and chose instead to rush a massive bill in the dark of night that will hurt Montanans in order to provide tax giveaways to wealthy out-of-staters.
The tax proposals that narrowly passed the Senate and the House both add over a trillion dollars to the national debt, while eliminating important deductions that benefit Montana families. These irresponsible changes will lead to billions of dollars in tax breaks for the extremely wealthy and big corporations at the expense of hardworking Montanans. The proposed tax overhaul would also raise health insurance costs by 10 percent, and 13 million Americans will go uninsured.
As your Senator, I will continue to defend Montana families and small businesses from disastrous proposals that hurt their pocketbooks and add to the debt. And I will work with anyone who is willing to pass legislation that keeps more money in the wallets of Montanans. Please do not hesitate to contact me again if I can be of further assistance.
Sincerely, Jon Tester
United States Senator
From Senator Toomey
Senator Pat Toomey
December 8, 2017
Thank you for contacting me about reforming our nation's tax code. I appreciate hearing from you.
Tax reform can help to create sustained economic growth for all Americans. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has projected the nation's gross domestic product to increase by a meager 1.9 percent each year over the next decade. I refuse to accept sub-two percent growth as the new normal knowing that, in the sixty years before the Obama administration, economic growth averaged 3.4 percent per year.
On November 16, 2017, the House passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) by a vote of 227 205. After spending four days debating the bill and considering an unlimited number of amendments last month, I joined a majority of my colleagues on the Senate Finance Committee in passing our own version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. On December 2, 2017, the bill passed before the full Senate by a vote of 51 49. Passage of this bill brings hardworking Pennsylvanians one step closer to seeing a pay raise and better job opportunities.
For example, the bill lowers our country's statutory corporate tax rate of 35 percent, which is the highest in the developed world and far above the average rate of our economic competitors (less than 23 percent). Without a significant reduction in business tax rates, the U.S. will never be the best place to invest and create jobs. And with the increasing international mobility of capital, a significant burden of business taxes now falls on workers, undermining wage growth.
I am confident pro-growth tax reform will deliver hardworking families across Pennsylvania a direct pay raise through cutting individual tax rates across the board as well as doubling both the standard deduction and the child tax credit. Reforms to the business side of the tax code that will make us globally competitive will result in an indirect pay raise as more jobs and new businesses are created, resulting in an upward pressure on wages.
I hope the House and Senate soon come together to finish our work on this bill and deliver on our promise of a better and brighter economic future for all Americans.
Thank you again for your correspondence. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of assistance.
U.S. Senator, Pennsylvania
From Senator Wyden
firstname.lastname@example.org Dec 11, 2017
Dear Mrs. Beck:
Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding tax reform. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.
The partisan tax bill championed in Congress raises taxes on millions of middle class families in order to give massive tax breaks to multinational corporations that ship jobs overseas. Congress' official tax scorekeeper confirmed the Senate tax bill increases taxes on 13 million middle-class households in 2019 alone. Meanwhile, the plan slashes the corporate tax rate and creates a new "pass-through" tax loophole for lawyers, lobbyists, and hedge fund managers.
At the core of the Trump tax plan is an economic double standard: while the Senate tax bill permanently cuts taxes for multinational corporations, it only provides temporary tax relief for middle class families. After 2025, the bill repeals all middle class tax breaks. But the corporate tax cuts stay on the books. That's why the plan raises taxes on at least 38 million middle class Americans in 2027.
As if this weren't enough, the Senate tax bill also repeals a key pillar of the Affordable Care Act. Official scorekeepers at Congressional Budget Office have confirmed the Senate bill would increase the number of Americans without health insurance by 13 million, and increase premiums for millions more by 10%.
Having written this plan behind closed doors and without bipartisan input, the White House and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell jammed this bill through the Senate in the dead of night, before the public was able to find out what's in it. That's legislative malpractice at its worst. Real, bipartisan tax reform must protect the middle class and go through regular order, not blow up the deficit in order to hand massive windfalls to multinational corporations, all without public scrutiny.
As Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, I have made it a priority to pursue long-lasting, job- creating tax reform on a bipartisan basis. But real reform requires serious, bipartisan work. I have spent the past decade leading bipartisan tax reform efforts, and I will continue to support any tax reform efforts that would foster good-paying jobs in both Oregon and across the country.
Again, thank you for keeping me apprised of the issues that are important to you. If I may be of further assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.
United States Senator
From Senator Alexander
Senator Lamar Alexander <Correspondence_Reply@alexander.senate.gov> November 27, 2017
Thanks for getting in touch with me and letting me know what’s on your mind regarding tax reform.
You don’t need to be an accountant to know that our tax code is too complicated, takes too many dollars away from Tennesseans and makes it harder to create good-paying jobs. Two separate tax reform proposals are being considered in the House of Representatives and the Senate. On November 16, 2017, House of Representatives approved its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. On November 16, the Senate Finance Committee approved a different proposal.
This Senate Finance Committee bill is good for Tennesseans’ family incomes. Its middle class tax cuts will leave more money in the pockets of Tennesseans. Tax cuts for job creators will grow the economy and cause employers to raise wages in order to compete for employees. I look forward to continuing to work with President Trump, Chairman Hatch, and my colleagues in the House and Senate to help create a simpler and fairer pro-growth tax system.
I’m grateful you took the time to let me know your views on tax reform. I’ll be sure to keep your comments in mind as this issue is discussed and debated in Washington and in Tennessee.
From Senator Baldwin
January 10, 2018
Dear Mrs. Beck:
Thank you for contacting me about our nation’s tax code. It is good to hear from you.
On December 20, 2017, the Senate passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L.11597) along party lines. I opposed this bill because it is largely a tax giveaway to the wealthiest few, big corporations and Wall Street, while millions of middle class families will face tax hikes. What’s more, the legislation puts people’s healthcare on the chopping block to pay for it. That’s not right and it’s not fair.
While corporations get permanent tax cuts, the top 1 percent will see more than 80 percent of the benefits in this bill. Personal exemptions and tax deductions for individuals have been eliminated or modified. That includes capping the deduction for state and local income, sales, and property taxes at
$10,000. One out of every three Wisconsin taxpayers claims the current state and local income tax deduction. This change could also put further strain on state and local governments and their ability to adequately fund schools and roads, firefighters and police officers.
What’s more, by the latest estimation from the nonpartisan Joint Taxation Committee, the tax bill will add a trillion dollars to the deficit—breaking our promise to the next generation and leaving them with the bill.
We need to make our tax system simpler and fairer for hard working Wisconsin families, small businesses and manufacturers. That’s what I have been working for. This year, I introduced a number of tax reforms aimed at bringing tax relief to working families, start-ups, small businesses and manufacturers in Wisconsin.
My Stronger Way Act would provide tax relief to working families by expanding the earned income tax credit and child tax credit. It also helps move unemployed individuals into the workforce by creating a new federal-state partnership to invest in local jobs programs. This tax reform rewards hard work and helps raise incomes by allowing workers to keep more of what they earn.
My 21st Century Manufacturing Act would provide tax relief to manufacturers so they can invest in research and development, create jobs and help drive economic growth. This tax reform will encourage manufacturers all across our state to invest in research and development and help drive economic growth for years to come.
My Support Our Start-Ups Act provides tax relief to small business start-ups so they can invest in growing their business and creating jobs. Small businesses are the engines of our economy and if we provide tax relief to start-ups, we can free up investments to create jobs and grow our economy.
Finally, we should put an end to tax preferences for the wealthy and invest in an economy that works for everyone. My Carried Interest Fairness Act would end a tax loophole that allows hedge fund managers to pay a lower tax rate than many truck drivers, teachers and nurses. My legislation would ensure that income earned by managing other people's money is taxed at the same ordinary income tax rates as the vast majority of working Americans. President Trump promised to close the carried interest loophole. Unfortunately, when I offered an amendment to close the carried interest loophole, the majority did not help the President keep his promise and the amendment was not included in the bill.
You can find more information about my amendments to the tax bill and proposed tax reforms online at: https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/pressreleases/baldwinproposesamendmentstorepublicantax bill
Please know that your concerns will inform my work on tax reform. Rest assured, I will keep fighting for a tax code that grows our economy from the middle out.
Once again, thank you for contacting my office. It is important for me to hear from the people of Wisconsin on the issues, thoughts and concerns that matter most to you. If I can be of further assistance, please visit my website at www.baldwin.senate.gov for information on how to contact my office.
United States Senator
From Senator Barrasso
Senator_JBarrasso@barrasso.senate.gov Nov 29, 2017
Thank you for taking the time to contact me about tax reform. It is good to hear from you.
On November 9, 2017, the Senate Finance Committee released its tax reform legislation, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The bill would double the standard deduction so that fewer American families pay federal income tax and takes steps to simplify the U.S. tax code. The Senate bill maintains several important provisions related to homeownership, as well as allowing individuals to claim medical expenses as a deduction as long as the current threshold is met. The plan also reduces existing tax rates and makes adjustments to the income thresholds for each rate. Many special interest tax provisions would also be eliminated.
The proposal also includes provisions to bring the U.S. corporate tax rate more in line with our global competitors and to create opportunities for U.S. businesses to invest at home. Among highly developed countries that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States has the highest top corporate rate in the world. Streamlining the tax code will keep American companies competitive with our global partners and encourage long-term investment and innovation going forward. Proposals are also included to bring in line the tax treatment for large companies and smaller individual owned businesses.
The Finance Committee recently passed it's tax reform proposal. The full Senate is expected to begin debate on the bill in coming weeks. Once the Senate completes its work on the bill, differences between the Senate passed bill and the House passed legislation will need to be resolved before a final measure can be considered by both houses of Congress.
Tax reform is an important issue, and I understand many people have strong opinions about how best to overhaul our tax code. Please know I will keep your thoughts in mind as Congress continues to work on this issue.
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. I value your input.
John Barrasso, M.D.
United States Senator
From Senator Cantwell
January 24, 2018
Dear Mrs. Eunice Beck,
Thank you for contacting me to share your views regarding the recently enacted tax bill, H.R. 1. This is critically important legislation and I appreciate hearing from you.
On December 20, 2017, the U.S. Senate narrowly passed H.R.1, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by a party-line vote of 51-48. This bill was signed into law on December 22, 2017. The majority party crafted this legislation behind closed doors with no input from the minority party. In doing so, the authors of this bill prioritized large corporate tax breaks over tax cuts for middle class families and investments in the future of our economy.
I voted against this bill because I believe it will harm many middle-class families by eliminating tax deductions that reduce their taxes. The bill is also projected to raise deficits by nearly $1.5 trillion over the next decade; this will be added to our national debt and left for our children and grandchildren to pay down.
The Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate is also repealed in this bill. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the repeal of this provision will result in 13 million fewer Americans having health insurance by 2027, and while premiums in the individual market will have an average increase of 10 percent. I believe that we must continue the bipartisan work in the Senate to make health care more affordable for all Americans, especially those who get their coverage through the individual insurance market.
Moreover, this ‘tax bill’ contained a provision that would open the pristine landscape of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas drilling. The damage done by drilling for oil in what many refer to as the “American Serengeti,” untouched for thousands of years, can never be undone. I believe ANWR is one of our nation's greatest wilderness areas. Over a decade ago, I led the fight against oil drilling in ANWR, and I will continue to fight to preserve ANWR for future generations.
To be clear, I would like to see a fair and sensible reform of the tax code. We need true tax reform that provides relief to working families, supports smart investments to create jobs, encourages research and innovation, and strengthens our competitiveness in the global marketplace. As part of that, I believe we need to better train the American workforce to have the skills needed to meet tomorrow’s challenges. That is why I have introduced bipartisan legislation to provide tax incentives for employers to participate in apprenticeship programs. Over the next decade, the U.S. will need to fill 3.5 million manufacturing jobs, but gaps in workforce training could leave us as many as 2 million short. My legislation would create a $5000 tax credit for each employee enrolled in a federal or state registered apprentice program. I strongly believe that skilling the American workforce for the future must be a significant part of any tax reform effort. Regrettably, this tax bill falls short.
Thank you again for contacting me to share your views on these important issues. Please be assured that I will keep your comments in mind as the Senate considers tax legislation to the future.
United States Senator
For future correspondence with my office, please visit my website at
From Senator Capito
November 27, 2017
Dear Mrs. Beck,
Thank you for contacting me regarding tax reform legislation. Your input is important to me as I work to represent you in the Senate.
I believe that tax reform is one of the most important things that Congress can do to help jump start our nation’s economy. Passing tax reform will provide relief to middle class families, help our small businesses grow, and make the United States more economically competitive.
On November 9, 2017, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This legislation is a crucial step towards delivering the pro-growth tax reform our country needs. According to the Tax Foundation, enacting the Senate’s tax reform legislation would increase after tax income for the average middle income family in West Virginia by $1,952 and add over 4,700 full time jobs in our state. Taxpayers in every income category would pay less under the legislation, with the biggest percentage of tax relief directed to the middle class.
The Senate Finance Committee reported this bill to the full Senate on November 16, 2017. I support this tax reform legislation because it will allow West Virginia families to keep more of the money they earn and provide more economic opportunity in our state.
Again, thank you for contacting me. I look forward to hearing from you again soon and invite you to visit my website, www.capito.senate.gov, for further information and to sign up for my e-mail newsletter. It is an honor to serve you.
Shelley Moore Capito United States Senator
From Senator Cornyn
Senator Cornyn <SenateWebmail@cornyn.senate.gov> Dec 1, 2017
Thank you for contacting me regarding efforts to simplify and reform the federal tax code. I appreciate the benefit of your comments on this matter.
At a time when the United States faces significant international competition, the federal tax code burdens our economy. According to the National Taxpayer Advocate organization, individuals and small businesses spend almost $200 billion complying with our overly complicated tax code, stifling both economic growth and hindering small business job creation. With families and small businesses struggling to make ends meet, Congress should focus on enacting low-tax, commonsense policies that promote economic growth, entrepreneurship, and private-sector job creation.
By making our tax code more logical, equitable, and transparent, the United States could ease the burden on hardworking families, strengthen our financial system, and ensure that our economy remains the strongest in the world. Texans deserve to keep more of their money to spend, save, and invest as they see fit.
On September 27, 2017, Congress, in coordination with the Administration, unveiled a framework for tax reform that will create a simpler, globally competitive, pro-growth tax code. The Senate Finance Committee, of which I am a member, passed a proposal out of committee on November 16, 2017 to put money back in the pockets of families and businesses across America. This proposal provides broad tax relief, repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax, doubles the child tax credit, and expands the standard deduction for millions of taxpayers. On November 30, 2017, the full Senate began consideration of this proposal.
I am honored to represent Texas in the United States Senate, and as a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax legislation, I will keep your views in mind during the 115th Congress. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.
United States Senator517 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510
Tel: (202) 2242934
Fax: (202) 2282856
Please sign up for my monthly newsletter at http://www.cornyn.senate.gov/newsletter.
From Senator Enzi
Senator Michael B. Enzi <Correspondence_Reply@enzi.senate.gov> December 5, 2017
I recently voted yes on the Senate Tax Cuts and Jobs Act because this legislation is a once in a generation opportunity to enact positive, pro-growth changes to our tax policy to benefit all Americans. I believe in the ideal th at Americans, not the federal government, know best how to spend their hard-earned money. This bill will not only give a financial boost to most American families, but it would put our country in a better position financially as we see the economic gains I believe this legislation will make possible, especially if we enact sensible federal spending restraints.
I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind as the differences between the House and Senate versions are reconciled. Thank you for contacting me.
Michael B. Enzi
United States Senator
From Senator Graham
December 5, 2017 Dear Mrs. Beck:
Thank you for contacting me regarding tax reform. I am pleased with the recent passage of the Senate tax bill. This legislation provides meaningful tax relief for South Carolinians all while enhancing America’s competitiveness in an ever shifting global economy.
The bill lowers rates for the seven individual tax brackets and doubles the standard deduction, allowing more Americans to keep their hard earned money. The lower corporate rate and shift towards a territorial tax system now give companies the incentive to further invest in the United States. These changes create jobs and keep innovation in our own backyard. With the passage of both the House and Senate bills, Americans can rest assured that Congress is committed to creating a more prosperous American economy.
As your United States Senator, my primary job is to understand and represent the interests of all South Carolinians. The opportunity to hear from you about the issues confronting our nation is not only essential to representative democracy, but allows me to better serve the people of South Carolina. We will not see eye-to-eye on every issue; however, I promise to always give your concerns the consideration they deserve.
I encourage you to visit my website http://lgraham.senate.gov as it will have information on the most recent activities before the U.S. Senate. You can also sign up for our e-mail newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages which will provide the latest information and updates on the major issues facing our state and our nation.
Thank you again for contacting me. I truly appreciate the opportunity to hear from you and am honored to have the opportunity to represent your interests in the U.S. Senate.
Lindsey O. Graham
United States Senator
Senator Maggie Hassan <Donotreply@hassan.senate.gov>
Nov 28 , 2017
Dear Mrs. Beck,
Thank you for contacting me regarding proposals to change the tax system. I value your opinion and appreciate you taking the time to write to me regarding this important issue.
My focus when considering any tax reform legislation is on ensuring that changes to our tax laws benefit hard-working families and small businesses. From what I have seen so far of Senate Republicans' tax legislation, I remain deeply concerned that it puts corporate special interests and the wealthiest few before hard-working Granite Staters. I met recently with Trump Administration officials for a bipartisan dialogue on tax legislation, where I voiced these concerns. Under the Republican proposals, millions of families earning less than $200,000 would see a tax increase, Granite Staters would no longer be able to deduct property taxes, and the deficit would increase dramatically, leading to massive cuts to Medicare, Social Security, and other critical priorities.
In order to ensure that middle class families are prioritized, I recently introduced the Middle Class Tax Break Act, which would give a $1,000 yearly tax credit to middle class families. I will continue working across party lines to drive economic growth and expand middle class opportunity.
To accomplish meaningful and lasting tax reform, Congress must undertake a thorough and bipartisan process, with full committee hearings so that proposals for tax reform can be fairly vetted. I will continue to advocate for such a process.
Thank you again for writing to share your thoughts, and I hope that you keep in touch with me. For more information on this and other important issues please visit my website at https://www.Hassan.Senate.Gov/.
With every good wish,
United States Senator
From Senator Hatch
Dec. 12, 2017
Dear Mrs. Beck:
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on improving our nation’s tax code. Tax reform is an issue I care deeply about, and I am glad you provided me this opportunity to share my views.
Enacting comprehensive tax reform is no longer a matter of choice; it is a matter of economic necessity. Our broken tax code has not worked for the American people in years. Our country needs a tax system that meets the challenges and opportunities of today’s global economy, not the antiquated tax system that we currently have.
That is why after years of careful review, months of hard work, and nearly a week of robust deliberations before the Senate Finance Committee on the merits of the legislation, the Senate has advanced the most comprehensive tax reform bill in a generation, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1). I am proud to have shepherded this legislation through the Senate as Chairman of the Finance Committee and remain confident that this tax reform package will move our country forward, turn the economic tide, and create more opportunities for all Americans.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has three primary objectives: provide relief and bigger paychecks to low and middle-income families, make America a better place to start and grow a business, and allow US businesses to better compete in the global marketplace. For low-and middle-income families, this bill reduces individual tax rates across the board, doubles the standard deduction, and expands the Child Tax Credit. Further, the bill simplifies the tax code to spare American taxpayers the six billion hours and nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars in annual costs they incur for merely complying with the tax code.
For small businesses, this bill lowers their tax rate and levels the playing field so that they may compete with larger businesses. Small businesses are capable of creating more than one million new jobs each year and currently employ approximately half of the American workforce. Creating a simpler and fairer environment for small businesses will make it easier for them to expand and create more good-paying jobs.
Lastly, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act lowers the tax rate for American businesses so they can better compete with companies overseas. Our current tax system puts our country, and its workers, far behind the rest of the world. This bill creates a more efficient system that encourages American companies to bring back jobs and investments trapped overseas. Put together, these three objectives will strengthen the middle class, increase hardworking taxpayers’ take-home pay, boost job growth, and make America a more welcoming place to do business.
While advancing this legislation through the Senate is a major accomplishment, there remains work to
be done in conference. I look forward to sending landmark tax reform legislation to the President’s desk as soon as possible. Please know that, above all else, I have worked to develop a tax reform bill that best serves the needs of Utahns. I value your input on this important topic, and I will remember your comments as I continue to find ways to improve our nation’s tax code.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. If you would like to receive regular updates on my work in the U.S. Senate, I welcome you to subscribe to my e-mail newsletter, visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Twitter.
Orrin G. Hatch
From Senator Heitkamp
November 27, 2017 Dear Eunice:
Thank you for taking the time to get in touch regarding tax reform. It was good to hear from you.
During my time as our state’s tax commissioner, I worked to ensure a fair tax structure that promoted job creation and long-term fiscal stability for the state government – and I will continue to fight for a more equitable federal tax system as Congress considers comprehensive tax reform this year. When I look to the future of North Dakota’s economy, I think about the working families like mine in small, rural towns like Mantador where I grew up. Those working families and enterprising young kids need policies that encourage them to innovate, build, and grow businesses and jobs that our communities can take pride in and rely on. For families like mine who wear their blue-collar roots proudly, we know these are the issues that can make all the difference for the folks who shower after work, for the businesses that need certainty to create good-paying jobs, and for middle-income families so they aren’t saddled with more debt than they can handle. That’s why I’m committed to improving our tax code, and making sure it encourages workers, their families, and our businesses.
But, I know the devil is in the details of any reform plan as tax codes are complex. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was released in the House of Representatives on November 2 and it passed by a vote of 227-205 on November 16. There were both good and bad provisions included in the bill. It deeply concerns me that the House bill makes corporate tax rate cuts permanent while it phases out some of the expanded relief for the middle class; adds almost $1.5 trillion to the debt; and ends long-standing tax breaks for adoptions, student loan interest costs, and medical expenses. However, I was glad to see the House bill did not include changes to 401K retirement savings, which is something I had vocally opposed.
Similarly, the Senate's version of the bill was released on November 9 and was approved by the Senate Finance Committee on November 16, and made some improvements on the House's bill -- including retaining important deductions and credits for adoption, student loan interest, and medical expenses. However, the Senate bill also includes a repeal of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, which I cannot support, as it would result in 13 million Americans losing their health insurance, along with insurance premium increases of around 10 percent for those who continue coverage. Additionally, the Senate bill has some serious budget issues, and before it is able to pass using the simple majority vote that Majority Leader McConnell plans on using, some critical middle class provisions -- such as the expanded tax credit and lower individual rates -- will have to be altered or sunset to fit within the budget requirements. If not, it would trigger automatic cuts in important programs like Medicare and Farm Bill programs that support North Dakota farmers. I do not want to see a tax reform bill that balloons our national debt over the long term or forces arbitrary cuts to critical federal programs, and that will be a significant issue to consider as discussions continue.
I have held several discussions this fall in North Dakota to gather input on tax reform – including roundtables in Fargo, Grand Forks, Minot, and Bismarck. It is not lost on me how complex tax reform is, and you and others throughout North Dakota have shared countless issues with me. Farmers have reached out to tell me about their experience with the estate tax and benefits for producers, like Section 199. Small businesses and community financial institutions have discussed their concerns about the treatment of pass through corporations. Charities and community advocates have told me about how they have used deductions and credits to build infrastructure in our rural areas. Families have shared how they have benefitted from deductions that encourage education and homeownership. I share the concerns of many who believe that tax reform, if not done correctly, could result in significant benefits for corporations and the wealthiest Americans, with little relief for the middle class or small businesses. As this process moves forward, my focus has been and will continue to be on how any tax reform plan would impact the middle class, small businesses, and our national debt. I will continue listening to North Dakotans about what they want to see in this effort. I’ve long said that I’m open to working across the aisle on comprehensive, permanent tax reform that promotes North Dakota families and our local economy, and I intend to keep working to see if we can come up with a tax reform plan that can achieve these goals.
Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any additional questions or concerns in the future.
Sincerely, Heidi Heitkamp, United States Senate
From Senator Hoeven
December 12, 2017
Dear Mrs. Beck,
Thank you for contacting me regarding the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. I appreciate having the benefit of your views and welcome the opportunity to respond.
As you may know, on December 2, 2017, the United States Senate passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R.
1) by a vote of 5149. This legislation is an important step toward providing middleclass Americans with tax relief that will enable them to keep more of their paycheck.
H.R. 1 reduces the tax burden on hardworking American taxpayers, providing a net tax cut of about
$2,200 for a median income family of four. In part, it does this by nearly doubling the standard deduction for individuals to $12,000 and married couples to $24,000, and increasing the standard deduction for a single parent with dependents to $18,000. To that end, nine out of ten taxpayers will likely use the expanded standard deduction. Additionally, this legislation provides families with significant tax relief by doubling the Child Tax Credit to $2,000 per child.
As passed by the Senate, H.R. 1 also preserves important tax deductions for middle class families, including the medical expense deduction, charitable contribution deduction, and home interest mortgage deduction, as well as deductions for student loan interest and tuition waivers. The Senate bill also doubles the educator expense deduction from $250 to $500.
Further, this legislation empowers economic growth by reducing tax rates for small businesses, including our farmers and ranchers, so we can grow our economy and create more jobs with higher wages. For the first five years, H.R. 1 allows full expensing or writing off the cost of new investments, which is phased down over an additional four-year period. Important provisions for our farmers and ranchers were included, such as the expansion of Section 179 expensing of equipment, and the doubling of the estate tax exemption, while maintaining the step-up basis for capital gains. Further, the legislation maintains interest deductibility as well as the property tax deduction for small businesses, farmers, and ranchers.
Additionally, I successfully worked to include provisions in the tax relief plan that benefit many North Dakotans, including increasing the tax deduction to 23% for qualified pass-through income, which reduces the tax burden for small businesses. In addition, the Senate version of H.R. 1 includes a Hoeven amendment that provides greater flexibility for implement and auto dealers to expense interest on inventory.
Tax relief, combined with regulatory relief, will empower the economy to grow and increase government revenues. Claims that the legislation will increase the deficit do not account for, or underestimate, revenue from a growing economy. Additionally, the legislation does not cut spending to agriculture or other programs, nor does it require across the board spending cuts. Now that the Senate has passed its tax relief plan, we will go to work with the House to deliver the best possible bill for hardworking Americans.
Again, thank you for contacting me. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (202) 224-2551.
United States Senator
From Senator Johnson
Senator Ron Johnson <email@example.com>
November 27, 2017
Thank you for contacting me regarding federal tax policy.
Our current tax system is too complicated and taxes are too high. The best way to strengthen families, grow businesses and improve our national economy is to let taxpayers keep more of their earnings. The sooner we stop expanding government, the sooner real growth and job creation will return to the private sector.
There are many proposals floating around on how to adjust our current tax system. They range from finetuning certain codes to completely overhauling the tax system. As Congress considers reform, many important things must be considered. Comprehensive reform should simplify our tax system, reduce compliance costs, and be conducive to economic growth. Above all, I will favor proposals that allow taxpayers to keep more of their own money.
Thank you again for contacting my office. It is very helpful to hear the views of the constituents I serve. Please see my website at www.ronjohnson.senate.gov for additional information. It is an honor representing you and all the people of Wisconsin.
United States Senator
From Senator Kaine
December 5, 2017
Dear Mrs. Beck:
Thank you for contacting me about tax reform. I appreciate hearing from constituents like you, who are passionate about and invested in America's future.
There is widespread agreement the federal tax code needs to be reformed. It must be simpler, more predictable, and more progressive. The code should be fair and pro-growth; it should also make us globally competitive. We should eliminate some spending administered through the tax code. In 2016, tax expenditures lowered federal income tax revenue by approximately $1.3 trillion. We need to thoroughly evaluate our current framework for how we generate tax revenue and balance spending in our current fiscal climate.
I welcome ideas that would help to broaden the tax base while maintaining fairness and progressivity in the code. The charitable deduction, child tax credit, and earned income tax credit are examples of important policies that must remain as key components of our tax code, as they advance societal goals and are effective. But there are other tax expenditures that should be eliminated. Simplifying the tax code should benefit both American businesses and workers. We should conduct a thorough reexamination of all aspects of the code in light of our current fiscal climate in order to promote economic growth, job creation, and fair wages. As a Senator, I have called to reduce or eliminate various tax expenditures in an effort to simplify the tax code and make it more progressive and economically efficient.
As you know, Congress recently debated tax reform proposals. The House of Representatives passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, H.R.1, on November 2nd, 2017, by a vote of 227-205. I have deep concerns about this proposal and the effects it will have on middle class families and small businesses. The Senate Finance Committee passed a version of a tax reform bill along a party line vote of 14-12 on November 16, 2017. The full Senate passed the bill on December 2, 2017, on a vote of 51-49.
I have major issues with provisions in the Republican tax plan, and I voted against its passage. The plan tilts benefits heavily to the wealthiest few, while millions of middle class families and small businesses will face a tax hike. It would be particularly bad for Virginia by repealing or limiting important provisions to the Commonwealth, such as the state and local tax deduction and the Federal Historic Tax Credit, a program that has brought investment and helped renovate historic buildings in Virginia towns and communities. The bill is also a deficit buster; three former defense secretaries have said that this tax plan increases the national debt so much that it would make it harder for the Pentagon to make future investments in our national defense. Lastly, Senate Republicans have decided to include a provision that would repeal the Affordable Care Act's individual insurance mandate, which would cause higher health care premiums for Virginians and an estimated 13 million fewer Americans to have insurance. Many of these problems could have been solved if Democrats and the public were included in drafting the bill. But the process was rushed, partisan, and secretive and the result shows that.
This isn't how we should be doing tax reform. I would support a bill that prioritizes middle class Virginians and small businesses, but this plan does the opposite.
Again, thank you for contacting me. Sincerely,
From Senator Leahy
November 27, 2017
Dear Mrs. Beck:
Thank you for contacting me about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.
On November 10, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch released the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, legislation that would implement President Trump’s plan for tax cuts. A version of this legislation passed in the House of Representatives on November 16. Rather than taking a bipartisan approach focused on providing tax relief and benefits to the vast majority of working Americans, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was written behind closed doors and goes down the partisan path of emphasizing tax cuts for wealthy Americans and corporations. I am very concerned about the impact this legislation will have on our economy, particularly on hardworking Vermonters in the middle class.
Not only does the bill provide permanent tax cuts for corporations while holding individual taxpayers hostage with temporary tax cuts, this legislation will also repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, one of the most critical components of that law. Repealing the individual mandate will cause 13 million Americans to lose coverage, raise premiums, and completely destabilize the health care markets, creating more uncertainty and higher costs for consumers all around. Most concerning, it places innocent lives at stake. To the extent that working Vermonters benefit at all from the temporary tax cuts provided in this bill, I am concerned that the consequences of repealing the individual mandate will more than erase those gains.
Unfortunately, I fear that many Vermonters will not benefit at all and may actually be harmed by this bill. According to the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation, millions of middle and lower-income Americans will face tax increases as a result of this bill. Additionally, this legislation alters or eliminates critical credits and deductions that hard-working Vermonters rely on, including the deduction for state and local taxes. Repealing this deduction could result in higher tax bills for many Vermonters.
At the same time, the bill doubles the amount at which the estate tax applies to $11 million for single taxpayers and $22 million for couples. This provision will directly benefit the wealthiest Americans, including the Trump family and many members of this Administration. Though some credits and deductions eliminated in the House bill are retained in the Senate bill, the differences in the proposals will ultimately need to be reconciled before final passage, which means that critical deductions such as those for student loans or catastrophic medical expenses remain at risk.
The goal of tax reform should be to simplify the tax code, provide relief to middle class families, and close corporate loopholes, including ones that allow corporations to stash profits in offshore accounts and avoid income tax. This bill falls well short of that goal. Too many middle-class Americans will see little to no benefit from the tax cuts proposed under the bill, and many others may even face a tax increase. The changes to the health care system that this bill would make will only cause further harm to working Americans. Meanwhile, corporations and the wealthy will see dramatic reductions in their taxes. You can be sure that I will only support tax reform legislation that puts the emphasis on working Vermonters rather than the wealthiest among us.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please keep in touch. Sincerely,
United States Senator
From Senator Manchin
January 10, 2018
Dear Mrs. Beck,
Thank you for contacting my office to share your thoughts about the tax bill. Hearing from West Virginians is very important to me, and I appreciate your input on this issue.
While I agree with my Republican colleagues that our country needs tax reform- this bill was not reform. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R.1) passed by Congress fails to deliver the reforms I believe will truly benefit West Virginia. The legislation gives hard-working individuals a small amount of temporary tax relief, while providing significant permanent tax reform to the wealthiest in our country. I know that had we worked in a bipartisan way we could have delivered a large and permanent tax cut that would have helped hard-working West Virginians pay bills, save for a rainy day, provide for their children, invest in their future and keep more of their paycheck at the end of the week.
Furthermore, I believe tax reform should be done in a fiscally responsible way that does not explode our debt and puts our country on a pathway to pay down our debt. The tax legislation passed by Congress irresponsibly adds $1.45 trillion to our growing $20 trillion national debt. This is a burden we are passing onto our children and one that cripples our ability to govern responsibly and fund our state’s priorities. During my first few months in the Senate, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that he believed the single greatest threat to our national security is our national debt. This has stuck with me during my time as a United States Senator and has hardened my resolve to get our national debt under control. As our deficits continue to grow, our men and women in uniform become particularly vulnerable, as we are not able to make the necessary financial investments to keep them and our nation safe. Tax reform is an opportunity to grow our West Virginia economy, confront our fiscal situation, defining our priorities based on our values, while applying fairness to our tax code and protecting vital safety net programs for generations to come. Unfortunately, the Republican tax cuts misses that opportunity.
Finally, the Republican tax cuts deliver a devastating blow to the healthcare system in West Virginia. The additional uncertainty that has been injected into the healthcare marketplace due to the repeal of the individual mandate is already reducing the number of people with insurance in the Mountain State and will cause premiums in 2019 to skyrocket even further. This action is cruel and unnecessary when the Senate has a bipartisan piece of legislation that has overwhelming support and will stabilize our current healthcare system. I am proud to cosponsor the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017, because it will help reduce healthcare costs for West Virginia families, and this agreement shows what is possible when we put people before politics. Instead, Republican leadership in the Senate refused to hold a vote on this bill and used the tax legislation to unravel healthcare.
While I am disappointed that we were not able to take advantage of this once-in-a-generation opportunity and pass real tax reform, I will continue to work with President Trump to find permanent ways to help the working class, put our country on a fiscally responsible path for the future, and improve the healthcare system in our country.
Once again, thank you for reaching out to me to add your voice to this important discussion. If I may be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact my office.
With warmest regards,
Joe Manchin III
United States Senator
From Senator Menendez
December 11, 2017
Dear Mrs. Beck:
Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Your opinion is very important to me, and I appreciate the opportunity to respond to you on this vital issue.
You will be pleased to know that I strongly oppose the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and voted against this bill both in the Finance Committee and on the Senate floor. While I support revamping our antiquated tax code to provide relief for middle class families and small businesses, the bill put forth by President Trump does not come close to meeting my necessary standards. This legislation would immediately raise taxes on millions of middle class Americans to pay for tax cuts for corporations and the top one percent. And this only gets worse over time. In fact, by 2027, approximately 88 percent of families making under $100,000 per year will either see a tax increase or no change in their taxes.
The picture is even bleaker for New Jerseyans due to the gutting of the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction. This will have a devastating effect on 1.8 million New Jerseyans who rely on this deduction to avoid being taxed twice – 80 percent of whom make under $200,000 a year. That is why I spoke on the Senate floor several times during the recent debate, attempting to convince my colleagues to restore this critical deduction. I then offered a motion to fully restore the SALT deduction, which unfortunately fell just three votes short of being successful. In addition to raising taxes on middle class families, this legislation eliminates an essential provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the individual mandate. This partisan sabotage of our healthcare system will undermine the market and result in 13 million people losing their health insurance and premiums skyrocketing for all Americans. This is nothing but a backdoor attempt to repeal the ACA.
You may be interested to know that I have been appointed as a member of the Conference Committee, to resolve the differences between the House and Senate bills. Let me be clear, both versions would be disastrous for the middle class, particularly in New Jersey. I won’t sugar coat things. The odds are stacked against us – but anyone who knows me knows I never back down from a fight. So I plan to use every tool I have to stop this morally bankrupt bill before it bankrupts our future.
As your United States Senator, I am focused on simplifying the code, creating jobs, and helping middle class families afford a home, pay for college and save for retirement. I believe we can do this without adding to our deficit by closing special interest loopholes that only the wealthy can take advantage of. We should have a tax code that reflects the general interests of the American people, not one that forces the less politically-connected to pay more in taxes than those with powerful allies. Simply put, tax reform should produce a code that is fair enough to ensure everybody pays their share while nobody is unduly burdened and simple enough so you don’t need an accountant to file your taxes. Please be assured that I will keep your views in mind as I continue to work with my colleagues to create a fair, pro-growth tax code that works for American families and our collective future.
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. I invite you to visit my website (http://menendez.senate.gov) to learn more about how I am standing up for New Jersey families in the United States Senate.
From Senator Murray
Senator@murray.senate.gov November 27, 2017
Dear Mrs. Beck:
Thank you for contacting me regarding tax reform. I appreciate having the benefit of your views on this matter.
As the Trump Administration and Congress work on legislation to reform our tax code, I am going to be focused on the middle class and working families, not just the wealthiest Americans or the biggest corporations.
First of all, I believe that any tax reform process should bring in the voices and stories of the families who will be impacted most. That is why I will rely on your voice to help me fight for reforms that help our economy create jobs, increase wages, and grow from the middle out, not the top down. I will fight as hard as I can for an open and transparent process: we need to hold hearings and bring in the voices of workers and families. I am very discouraged to see the Republicans trying to jam this through using a partisan “reconciliation” fast track process.
President Trump has already done so much to break his promise to stand with workers, and we cannot allow tax reform to be just another way that he and his fellow Republicans steer more taxpayer dollars to the wealthiest Americans or corporations. I was concerned to see that the House Ways and Means Committee tax reform bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act released on November 2, and the Senate version, released the following week, are more of the same. These plans propose massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and biggest businesses including the Trump Organization – while leaving behind middle class families and those who can afford it least.
I am very troubled by numerous provisions in both of these bills. I am concerned by the House bill’s significant changes to the mortgage interest deduction and the state and local tax deduction. Though the Senate version does not change the mortgage interest deduction, its proposal to eliminate the state and local deduction entirely is extremely worrisome. Millions of Washington state taxpayers benefit from these deductions, and this is just another way that the Trump Administration will take money from Washington state workers in order to line the pockets of the billionaires and big corporations. These bills cruelly target middle-class workers and seniors by eliminating the medical expense deduction, which allows taxpayers an itemized deduction for out-of-pocket medical expenses. They also target students through the elimination of numerous education provisions, like the student loan interest deduction. Lastly, Republicans do nothing to expand or enhance the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, which helps countless families in Washington state and across the country better afford the soaring cost of child care.
I am also very troubled by the Republican proposal to repeal the individual mandate. It is truly shameful that after Trumpcare was rejected time and again, and while we have a bipartisan health care plan that would actually reduce premiums, Republicans are trying to sneak in and jam through another harmful change to health care.
This change would be just another way for them to pay for hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts for massive corporations and the rich by asking middle class families to foot the bill.
Instead of focusing on the wealthiest few, I believe tax reform should include tax cuts for working families and small businesses that need them most. That is why, over the years, I have introduced legislation like the 21st Century Worker Tax Cut Act, which introduces a new tax credit for parents who both work, as well as the Helping Working Families Afford Child Care Act, which reforms the Child and Dependent Care Tax credit so that it delivers a larger benefit to more families. Taxes should be cut for workers, students, seniors, and the middle class—and we should pay for that by closing wasteful tax loopholes.
Good legislation takes time and involves listening to all stakeholders. I stand ready to do the hard work and I hope Republicans will join me. I will remain focused on investing in important priorities like energy efficiency, education, economic development, and the expansion of business opportunities within the tax code. And I will work with my colleagues in Congress to address the complication, unfairness, and uncertainty in our tax code in a responsible way.
As Congress continues to debate tax reform, please know that I will keep your thoughts in mind. If you would like to know more about my work in the Senate, please feel free to sign up for my weekly updates at http://murray.senate.gov/updates. Thank you again for writing, and please keep in touch.
Sincerely, Patty Murray
United States Senator
From Senator Portman
Senator Rob Portman 12.22.17
Given your interest in issues concerning the tax code, I wanted to give you an update of my latest work as it relates to fixing our broken tax system.
On December 20, after decades of talk and years of planning, Congress passed landmark reforms that will provide tax relief for middle-class families, create more jobs, and increase wages for American workers. This is the first time Congress has passed meaningful tax reform in 31 years, and for many Americans, it is long overdue. I am proud of my colleagues’ hard work in both the House and the Senate, and through our combined efforts, our historic tax reform bill—the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)—which was signed into law by the President today and becomes effective starting January 1, 2018.
From the very beginning, I have worked with my colleagues to develop and help improve the bill, including adding several amendments during consideration by the Senate Finance Committee. Here’s a quick rundown of my work to help craft and improve the final tax reform bill:
Pushing for Middle-Class Tax Cuts. Throughout this debate, I have been consistently focused on ensuring that the middle class gets a significant tax cut, and that the progressivity of the code is at least maintained if not made more progressive. In particular, I was focused on lowering tax rates and expanding the child tax credit. All told, reforms made under this bill will result in the typical family of four earning the median income of $73,000 receiving a tax cut of $2,059. Even the left-leaning Tax Policy Center has determined that this tax bill will “reduce taxes on average for all income groups.”
Expanding Tax Relief for Small Businesses. Reforms to the business tax code are an essential component of this bill, especially lowering rates for small businesses, which I played a key role in developing. These progrowth reforms will grow our economy, create more jobs, and make America more competitive with our foreign counterparts. According to the Tax Foundation, a D.C.based tax policy nonprofit, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would help to increase wages and create hundreds of thousands of new American jobs all across the country. The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) endorsed the Senate bill.
Leveling the Playing Field for American Companies & Workers. My bipartisan work on international tax reform is a key component of the Senate tax reform bill. In 2015, I chaired a bipartisan working group on international tax reform with Senator Chuck Schumer, now Minority Leader. Together, we developed a bipartisan framework to reform the international tax code, transition from a worldwide to a territorial tax system, and give American companies a level playing field with their foreign competitors. That framework is now part of the final TCJA.
Preserving Private Activity Bonds (PABs). During Senate consideration of tax reform, I helped preserve private activity bonds, which are an essential source of funding for important infrastructure and community redevelopment projects across Ohio.While the House bill eliminated PABs, the Senate bill and final TCJA preserves them.
Preserving the Historic Tax Credit (HTC). I am a strong supporter of the HTC and I worked with Senator Cassidy to restore the current 20 percent credit level after the House eliminated it entirely and earlier drafts of the Senate bill reduced it to 10 percent. The HTC encourages private investment in the rehabilitation of historic buildings. It has been used to preserve numerous historic Ohio buildings, including Cincinnati’s recently rehabilitated iconic Music Hall.
Preserving the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC). While the House eliminated the New Markets Tax Credit, I led the effort in the Senate to preserve it. The NMTC helps economically distressed communities attract private capital for community redevelopment purposes, and Cincinnati has been a significant beneficiary. Earlier this year, I visited the Nehemiah Manufacturing Company, which is using the NMTC to expand and provide meaningful employment opportunities to ex-offenders re-entering society.
Preserving the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. I also led the effort to preserve the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides employers with a tax credit for hiring and retaining veterans, ex-felons, disabled
individuals, summer youth employees, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and Supplemental Security Income recipients. One of my amendments in 2015 added a $2,400 credit for first year wages paid to the long-term unemployed.
Helping Families Combat Unfair Tax on Student Loans. The tax bill includes my bipartisan Stop Taxing Death and Disability Act, legislation to eliminate a tax penalty levied on student loans forgiven for families after their child develops a permanent disability or dies.
Promoting the Craft Beverage Industry in Ohio. The tax bill includes the bipartisan Craft Beverage Modernization & Tax Reform Act, legislation that I have championed which would provide excise tax relief to the growing craft beverage industry, helping these entrepreneurs reinvest more in their businesses and our communities. Ohio is number four in the country in craft beer production, and supports 15,000 jobs in the state.
Preserving Worker Retirement Security. The tax bill includes one of my amendments to protect small startup businesses’ ability to utilize nonqualified deferred compensation programs for millions of employees and retirees; remove a provision that would have subjected 457 plan participants like Ohio police and firefighters to a harmful 10 percent early distribution tax; and preserve the ability of all 401(k) participants to make catch-up contributions after age 50. I also worked with Senator Susan Collins (RME) to preserve additional catch-up contributions available to 457 and 403(b) plans, including clergy in church pension plans. These amendments preserved retirement security incentives with a proven track record of success.
Easing the Burden of High Medical Expenses. The tax bill includes changes from my Seniors Tax Hike Prevention Act which would allow seniors to deduct a greater share of their medical costs. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, all taxpayers at any age may take advantage of this expanded deduction.
In 2010, I made a commitment to the people of Ohio that I would help lead an effort to reform our broken tax code and provide relief to families and small businesses, and I am proud to have made good on that commitment. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will cut taxes for middleclass families, reform our business tax code to create more jobs and higher wages for Ohio workers, and update our international tax code to encourage jobs and investments in America. Put all that together, and the future for American workers and their families starts to look very, very bright.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact my office. For more information, I encourage you to visit my website at www.portman.senate.gov. Please keep in touch.
Sincerely, Rob Portman
From Senator Sanders
Dear Mrs. Beck:
Thank you for contacting me to express your thoughts on legislation that is currently being considered by Congress to rewrite the tax code. While there is no question that we should reform our tax code and address our nation’s debt, I am fiercely opposed to any plan that provides enormous tax incentives for corporations and the wealthiest individuals in this country while harming middle-class and working families.
The bills being considered eliminate many of the favorable tax benefits for middle class families that exist in current law. According to Americans for Tax Fairness, taxes will go up for 87 million middle-class families by 2027. Both the Senate and House bills repeal the federal deduction for state and local taxes. One-third of taxpayers making $50-75,000 take this deduction for state and local income and property taxes.
In order to help pay for permanent corporate tax cuts, a provision repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate was included, raising the number of uninsured Americans by 13 million by 2027, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates. In addition, the Senate bill mandates automatic Medicare cuts of at least $25 billion in 2018 and $400 billion over 10 years.
Unfortunately, not only do the Republican bills include a massive tax cut for the top 1 percent with little to no relief for middle-class and working families, they also rely on budget gimmicks to hide the fact that it would explode the deficit. In the long-run, this will lead to massive cuts in programs millions of Americans rely on just to get by. At a time when the middle-class is collapsing, unemployment and underemployment are high, and millions of families are struggling economically, it is immoral and bad economic policy to enact legislation that will add $1.5 trillion to our federal deficit and cut vital programs like Medicare, Social Security, or nutrition programs.
If these plans become law, these policy changes would disproportionately benefit America’s most profitable corporations and wealthiest individuals, further widening income inequality in our country. To my mind, any tax reform policy should be focused on creating jobs, lowering the deficit, and protecting working families and the most vulnerable people in our society by ending tax loopholes and unfair tax breaks that benefit the top 1 percent. Those who have benefitted the most from years of tax cuts for the wealthy and a laissez-faire approach to corporate regulations should finally be asked to pay their fair share and bear the burden of digging us out of our current budgetary troubles.
The differences in the two versions of tax reform legislation passed by the Senate and House of Representatives are currently being debated in a conference committee. Please be assured that I will do everything in my power to defeat these disastrous tax bills, and will continue to work on a tax reform plan that creates an economy and government that works for all of us.
Thank you again for contacting me, and please feel free to stay in touch about this or any other subject of interest to you. For up-to-date information on what I am working on, please signup for my enewsletter, the Bernie Buzz, at http://sanders.senate.gov/buzz/.
United States Senator
From Senator Scott
Dear Mrs. Beck,
Thank you for contacting me to express your thoughts on tax reform. I appreciate your thoughts on this important issue and the opportunity to respond.
Since coming to Washington, I have made it clear that reforming our tax code is a top priority. Too often our tax code hinders job creation, puts undue burdens on American families, and even encourages American companies to expand internationally instead of here at home.
As you are well aware, tax reform is about freedom, jobs, and smaller government. It is about returning power to the taxpayer and ensuring America's economic growth. It is about allowing the American people to keep more of their hard earned dollars. As a child of a single-mother, I understand firsthand the hardships when living paycheck to paycheck. Tax reform is not an exercise for Washington, but an opportunity for us to reward, and not punish, hardworking Americans by helping them keep more of their paycheck. Under the Senate plan, every bracket gets a tax cut, and a typical family will save upwards of $1,500 a year in taxes.
As a former small business owner, I understand the economic challenges felt by entrepreneurs everywhere. I truly believe it is critical that we focus on tax policies that will encourage economic growth and job creation for our great nation. We need to implement policies that embolden businesses to grow and expand by putting money into the private sector rather than the hands of the government. The Senate bill lowers the 35 percent corporate tax rate to put us on a level playing field with our competitors. With true tax reform we can secure a more prosperous and economically stable America, not just for today, but for years to come.
I am confident that the Senate’s tax package, where the standard deduction is doubled, the charitable giving provision is retained, and the child tax credit is increased and expanded, will bring much needed relief to lower-and middle-class America. Further, it includes my bipartisan Investing in Opportunity Act, which will help bring long-term investment to distressed communities across the nation.
With the advent of a new administration, we have the unique opportunity to institute meaningful change by way of reducing the tax burden on American families, and creating a competitive internal revenue code that promotes long-term growth and stability. Currently, legislators in both the House and Senate are working to craft legislative solutions to reform and modernize our nation's tax code. Rest assured, I will keep your thoughts in mind as the Senate moves forward on these proposals.
Again, thank you for sharing your perspective with me; I hope that you will continue to do so in the future. If I can ever be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or a member of my staff.
For more information, please visit my website at www.scott.senate.gov and subscribe to my monthly e newsletter. I also encourage you to follow me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SenatorTimScott and Twitter: www.twitter.com/SenatorTimScott for daily updates.
United States Senator
From Senator Warner
Sen. Mark Warner's Office Dec 8, 2017
Dear Mrs. Beck,
Thank you for contacting me about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. I appreciate hearing from you about this important issue.
I have long argued that our broken tax code needs bipartisan, comprehensive reform. It is too complex and has been amended so many times that it no longer functions well. The federal government actually spends more on tax expenditures, or tax breaks, than it collects in personal income taxes each year.
During my time in the Senate, I have advocated for a plan that simplifies our tax system and addresses our debt and deficit. To do this requires examining the goals and outcomes of each credit, deduction, and exemption in our tax code and scaling back or eliminating those that have outlived their usefulness. In that way, we would raise revenue by eliminating tax expenditures and still be able to reduce rates and protect the middle class. I also firmly believe that changes to our existing tax structure must be considered carefully to ensure that we avoid unforeseen consequences, and be part of a bipartisan process to ensure a stable and broadly agreeable plan.
Unfortunately, the actual debate and plans recently brought forward have not met these goals.
In October 2017, the Senate passed a Budget Resolution by a vote of 51-49, which allowed the Senate to then consider tax legislation under a privileged procedural process known as “reconciliation.” This allows a single party to pass a bill with a simple majority. In the weeks that followed, Senate Republicans – absent input from Democratic colleagues – drafted a bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, that makes drastic changes to our business, individual, and international tax system.
Before consideration by the full Senate, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was marked up in the Senate Finance Committee, of which I am a member. During this markup, I offered and cosponsored a series of amendments to promote fiscal responsibility, protect the middle class, and ensure that corporations receiving preferential tax rates invested in their domestic workforce; these, and many other amendments offered by my democratic colleagues were not accepted. Instead, there were changes made in backroom deals, released to members and the public late at night, and with little time for the public to know or understand the impact before having to vote on them. Further, there had been no real hearings – with outside experts – on the bill’s impact. Despite this, the bill advanced out of Committee on a party-line vote.
On December 1, 2017, the Senate passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R.1), by a vote of 51-49. You can find the text of the final legislation here. While the bill contains some provisions that I have supported in the past, including a lower corporate rate, an overwhelming amount of evidence shows that most of the benefits would go to businesses and the highest income households, rather than the middle class. In fact, by 2027, after nearly all of the bill’s individual income tax provisions expire, at least 38 million middle class households are expected to see a tax increase.
According to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, the bill as passed by the Senate would cost
$1.45 trillion over the next 10 years, but this does not take into account over $500 billion in gimmicks used to hide the bill’s real cost, and hundreds of billions more in interest from all the new debt. When those are considered, the real cost of the bill is closer to $2.3 trillion. At a time when the debt and deficit continue to be one of the greatest challenges we face as a nation, this is simply unacceptable.
This bill also repeals a key health care mechanism which ensures that every individual who benefits from our health care system also contributes to its financial sustainability. Eliminating this provision will raise health insurance premiums, especially for people with serious conditions who require the most help. Congress’ nonpartisan scorekeeper, the Congressional Budget Office, estimates that this will also lead to 13 million fewer Americans having health insurance. This is yet another intentional effort to destabilize our health care market.
On November 16, 2017, the House of Representatives passed its own version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
While there are many differences between the two bills, the impact on both the middle class and the debt are largely the same. Even more, their legislation eliminates important parts of our tax code, from deductions for college and graduate school tuition to the Historic Tax Credit, which has allowed towns and cities across Virginia to revitalize their downtowns.
While I have long advocated for reforming our broken tax code in a bipartisan way, I was unable to support the Senate legislation for many of the reasons outlined above, and have urged my colleagues to return to regular order so that we can work together on meaningful reform.
Over the coming weeks, designated conferees from the House of Representatives and the Senate will reconcile the differences in the two bills and produce a conference report, which will be voted on by the full Senate on a date yet to be determined. Rest assured that I will continue to advocate for fiscally responsible tax reform conducted through regular order and for proposals that provide permanent solutions for Virginia’s families and businesses.
Again, thank you for contacting me.
MARK R. WARNER
United States Senator
From Senator Tillis
Senator Thom Tillis <firstname.lastname@example.org> Dec 5, 2017
Dear Mrs. Beck:
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts regarding tax reform. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.
I believe that the United States is in desperate need of tax reform, and all good ideas should be on the table. Updates to our tax code are long overdue. Over 30 years have passed since Congress has addressed the issue. Reforming our nation’s tax code will reduce complexity, create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and generate more competition in the global economy.
Both the Senate and the House have been working, in coordination with the Administration, on tax reform legislation that will provide relief and certainty to American families and businesses. On December 2, 2017, the Senate passed its comprehensive tax reform proposal designed to provide the middle-class with tax relief, while improving America’s global competitiveness. Although not perfect, I supported this legislation because doing so will provide our nation with the necessary tools to spur economic growth and create jobs for hardworking North Carolinians and Americans. Below are some of the highlights from the Senate tax reform plan.
Tax Relief for Individuals and Families:
Lowers taxes on average for every income bracket Doubles the standard deduction
Doubles the child tax credit to $2000 Maintains the mortgage interest deduction Maintains the adoption tax credit Maintains the medical expense deduction
Maintains the graduate school tuition waiver and the student loan interest deduction Doubles the teacher deduction for classroom supplies to $500
Doubles the estate tax exemption
Repeals the individual mandate that requires every individual to purchase health insurance or pay a fine Tax Relief for Businesses:
Adopts a 23% deduction for passthrough incomes for qualifying businesses Lowers the corporate tax rate to 20% beginning in 2019
Allows for full expensing for the first 5 years followed by a phase out over the next 5 years Onetime mandatory repatriation for foreign profits trapped overseas
Moves from a worldwide tax system to a territorial tax system
Preserves Low Income Housing Tax Credit and Private Activity Bond’s tax exempt status Preserves the Historic Tax Credit
Now that the Senate and House have each passed tax reform bills, the two chambers must reconcile the differences before sending the bill to the President’s desk. Details of the final tax reform legislation are still being finalized. Throughout this process, you can visit https://www.finance.senate.gov/taxreform to remain up to date on the current Senate package and potential changes to individual items within the tax code.
As this legislation is finalized, I will carefully consider your thoughts on specific provisions in making a decision on what is best for North Carolina and the rest of the country.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me again about other issues that are important to you.
Sincerely, Thom Tillis
From Senator Heller