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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Update: Tax Bill Moves to Conference – Keep Taking Action!

On Monday we sent an alert about the Senate passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. At that point, it was unclear whether the House would approve the Senate’s version of the bill or go to conference to resolve the differences between the two bills. Monday night the House approved a motion to go to conference, and the Senate approved a similar motion last night. Very soon, selected members of the House and Senate will work together to reconcile the differences between their bills.

A NCIL Member holds a sign that reads "Justice Not Just Us" at the 2017 Annual Conference on Independent LivingWhat this means is that where there are differences between the two bills, any provision in either version can be included in the final bill. Problems that were only in the House bill, like the elimination of the medical expense deduction and the credit for businesses to become more accessible, may still end up in the final bill.  And problems that were only in the Senate bill, like the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, may also end up in final bill.

But regardless of which of the conflicting provisions end up in the final bill, one certainty remains: as a whole, both of these bills will give huge tax cuts to rich people and corporations while putting the programs people with disabilities need in jeopardy. Both bills would add $1.5 trillion to the deficit, resulting in hundreds of billions of dollars being taken from the programs we rely on. This bill is fundamentally flawed, and nothing that can be done in conference can fix it.

That said, going to conference means we still have time to take action! While much of the activity of the conference committee will happen behind closed doors, we will continue to follow the activity and provide updates. Because Congress has other time-sensitive issues to focus on – including passing a continuing resolution to keep the government funded past Friday- we will most likely not see votes on this until next week at the earliest. In the meantime, committee members have some big decisions to make, and they need to hear from their constituents! And, once the conference committee makes their decisions and votes on a final bill, both the House and the Senate will have to vote one more time on the new bill.

Take Action!

As we wrote in our last alert, this is not over yet. It’s critical that we keep the pressure on our members of Congress! Contact your Senators and Representatives and tell them to vote NO on the tax bill! It is important for all members of Congress to be contacted, but it’s especially important if they are conference committee members! The Democratic Senate appointees have not been determined at this point, but all House appointees and Senate Republican appointees can be found below. Things may move quickly, so there’s no time to waste. Call now! 

  • Call your Senators and Representatives by calling the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY).
  • Use Resistbot to turn your text into faxes, mail, or hand-delivered letters.
  • Fax your Representative (use faxzero.com to find their fax number).
  • Email, post on Facebook, or Tweet your Representative with information on Contacting Congress.

House Conference Committee Members

Republicans:

  • Rob Bishop (UT)
  • Diane Black (TN)
  • Kevin Brady (TX)
  • Kristi Noem (SD)
  • Devin Nunes (CA)
  • Peter Roskam (IL)
  • John Shimkus (IL)
  • Greg Walden (OR)
  • Don Young (AK)

Democrats:

  • Kathy Castor (FL)
  • Lloyd Doggett (TX)
  • Raul Grijalva (AZ)
  • Sander Levin (MI)
  • Richard Neal (MA)

Senate Conference Committee Members

Republicans:

  • John Cornyn (TX)
  • Mike Enzi (WY)
  • Orrin Hatch (UT)
  • Lisa Murkowski (AL)
  • Rob Portman (OH)
  • Tim Scott (SC)
  • John Thune (SD)
  • Pat Toomey (PA)

Senate Democratic members have not been announced yet.

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