Castor Named to GOP-Tax Bill Negotiation Group
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor has called the GOP-tax bill “outrageous,” “unfair,” and “unwise.”
WASHINGTON, DC- U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, has been named as one of five Democrats to negotiate with Republicans on the final version of the tax reform bill.
Castor made the announcement Tuesday (Dec. 5) in her weekly letter to constituents and on her Facebook page.
Castor said in her HouseWatch alert:
“The Republican majority is entirely focused on rushing through the outrageous tax bill that raises taxes on millions of middle class families, while providing massive permanent tax cuts to big corporations and the super-rich. Last night, I was named as one of five House Democratic conferees to negotiate with Republicans on the final version of the GOP bill. I will press for greater fairness so that the benefits do not go overwhelmingly to the top 1 percent. Tax reform should boost wages and productivity, invest in modern infrastructure in America and not add over $1 Trillion to the national debt. During my years representing the Tampa Bay area in Congress, I haven’t seen a bill that is more unfair and unwise. The battle earlier this year over health care and narrow focus on the huge tax giveaway have crowded out action on other important legislation so the GOP must cram everything into the last few weeks of the year.
“For example, Speaker [Paul] Ryan [R-WI] must propose a bill to fund the government by Friday [Dec. 8] or face a government shutdown. In a properly-functioning Congress, appropriations for the government are adopted prior to the start of the fiscal year in October. Reliance on short-term ‘continuing resolutions’ has become too common and damages the ability of agencies like the Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health and Department of Transportation to function. Republicans likely will offer a two-week ‘CR’ until Dec. 22 and then hope to craft another bill to fund the government through Sept. 30, 2018. Republicans control the House, Senate and the White House so it is a bit mystifying why they cannot govern on a basic responsibility.
“Other vital initiatives that hang in the balance are emergency funding to Florida, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Texas following the harshest hurricane season on record. The GOP Congress also allowed the Children’s Health Insurance Program to expire as of Sept. 30 and states are running out of money to continue to provide health services to kids who need it. Flood insurance reform also must be dealt with before Congress adjourns. Democrats and some Republicans are pressing to hold President [Donald] Trump to his word that our Dream Act students would be allowed to apply for citizenship before the end of the year.”
In her Facebook posting, Castor said that one of her “top priorities is to stand up for students, teachers, colleges and universities who are all targeted by the GOP for significant tax increases. I have heard from many students and educators at the University of South Florida, University of Florida, Florida State University and more who are opposed to the GOP bill.
“For example, graduate students nationwide staged a ‘day of action’ in opposition to the House bill because graduate tuition waivers will now be treated as taxable income and thereby impose huge financial burdens on many of the 145,000 graduate students who research and teach. The House bill also eliminates the tax deduction for student loan interest, which allows people repaying student loans to cut their tax burden.
“Current law allows student loan borrowers who make up to $65,000 and married couples who make up to $130,000 to lower their taxable income by $2,500. If Republicans intend to make college more expensive for students and families, this is how you do it. This is shortsighted and wrong as we should be doing all we can to grow our economy, support our researchers and work together to broaden access to more affordable higher education.”
The other representatives who are on the negotiating committee:
- Conference Chair: Kevin Brady (R-TX)
- Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA)
- Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL)
- Rep. Diane Black (R-TN)
- Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD)
- Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)
- Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
- Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR)
- Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)
- Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA)
- Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI)
- Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)
- Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)
The committee will draft and approve a conference report to be voted on by Congressional lawmakers and, if approved, signed into law by Trump before the end of the year.
Castor represents Florida’s 14th Congressional District, which includes Tampa.
For information about Castor, go to castor.house.gov.
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