• Advertisement

House Republicans Push Through Their Tax Hike On Middle Class Families

Last night, straight down party lines, Republicans voted to give millionaires and billionaires a massive tax cut and to raise taxes on millions of hard working Americans.

“Today’s vote is a missed opportunity to deliver the tax reform we need for middle class families and small businesses,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “I strongly support reform that starts with the goal of providing tax relief for those in the economy who need it most. This bill is little more than a giveaway to big corporate interests and wealthy individuals while creating losers among many middle class families who will see their taxes increase in the coming years.”

“The tax bill that House Republicans passed today seeks to steal from the vast majority of Americans to benefit the very few. This is an attack on our economic security and on the fabric of our nation,” said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter. “House Republicans’ tax scam is loaded with provisions to help the wealthiest: it eliminates the estate tax, which will only be paid by an estimated 5,500 super-wealthy Americans this year, and slashes the corporate tax rate claimed by the biggest businesses. Meanwhile, it raises taxes on many middle-class families, and it sets small benefits for working families to expire in five years – while making cuts for corporations permanent. And make no mistake about it: these cuts will take money away from needed national security investments at this dangerous moment in time.”

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, confirmed Shea-Porter’s claim by stating, “12 percent of taxpayers would pay more in 2019 and 13 percent would pay more in 2027.” These increases unfairly hit middle class families.

This tax increase to the middle class comes primarily from the loss of “itemized deductions” that allow taxpayers to deduct things like mortgage interest, state and local taxes, student loan interest, qualifying work related expenses, and medical expenses.

“One reason for the variation across states is that taxpayers who live in places with higher state and local taxes may be more heavily impacted because those taxes would no longer be deductible on federal tax returns,” ITEP added.

“The bill the House approved today hurts older Americans now and in the future,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “Eliminating the medical expense deduction means it will be harder for families with high medical expenses, most of whom are seniors, to make ends meet. The House Republican tax bill axes deductions that help working people so it can give more to the wealthiest.”

“The wealthy and corporations do not need these tax breaks. The vast majority of Americans understand that trickle-down economics does not work, and they disapprove of this plan. Retirees and working Americans know who this plan helps and who it hurts. And they will remember this when they vote in 2018,” Fiesta concluded.

Shea-Porter added, “This bill eliminates the deduction for high medical expenses claimed by over 40,000 Granite Staters and the student loan interest deduction that helps people saddled with student debt. It even takes away the modest $250 above-the-line deduction I fought to make permanent for almost 20,000 New Hampshire teachers – while keeping the golf course tax loophole. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the plan would explode the deficit by $1.7 trillion, triggering automatic cuts to Medicare. We all know our tax code desperately needs reform – but those reforms need to help the working people who are already losing out under our tax code, not give even more to the wealthiest 1% and the biggest corporations.”

The AFL-CIO says the bill is a “job killer” and rewards corporations for offshoring American jobs. Under the House proposal “U.S. tax rate on offshore profits from 35% to 0%,” creating a subsidy for outsourcing jobs that would cost taxpayers “$208 billion over 10 years.”

In their letter of opposition to the proposed tax plan, William Samuel, Director

Government Affairs Department at the AFL-CIO, called the proposal the “poster child for the failed ‘trickle-down’ economic theory that has never worked and has repeatedly stuck working people with the tab for tax giveaways for millionaires, big corporations, and Wall Street.”

Republicans are trying to pull the wool over our eyes in this massive tax scam. The plan would slash the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% and repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax on “pass-through” businesses. A couple of examples of a “pass through” business are “small businesses” like hedge funds, law firms, realty investment companies, and some large corporations like Bechtel construction (the 9th largest single owned business in the US). Without the Alternative Minimum Tax these “pass through” businesses would not be required to pay any federal taxes at all.

NBC News is reporting “Trump and his heirs potentially could save more than $1 billion overall under the GOP tax proposal that the House of Representatives passed Thursday,” though he continues to say that the plan will not benefit him.

The progressive coalition, Not One Penny, supports tax reforms but not one penny in reductions to “millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations.”

“The tax bill that passed the House today is an affront to the people that our leaders in Washington claim to represent. The GOP voted to cut taxes for millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations, inevitably forcing cuts to programs working families depend on like Medicaid, Medicare, public education, and Social Security. While passing the largest middle-class tax hike in a generation, the GOP said ‘no thanks’ to helping working families this Thanksgiving,” said Not One Penny spokesman Tim Hogan. “The tax proposal that passed today is wildly unpopular with a majority of Americans, and voters won’t forget those who enabled this hypocrisy. Republicans’ vote today is one that will haunt them in the weeks and months ahead.”

Over the last month, in mobilizing against Republicans’ disastrous tax plan, the Not One Penny coalition has coordinated more than a hundred events and actions across the country to hold congressional Republicans accountable for pushing tax cuts for the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of working families.

Advocates and activists continue to mobilize in opposition to Republicans’ tax scam. From hundreds gathering together at rallies alongside Leaders Pelosi and Schumer, Members of Congress, and progressive allies on November 1 and November 15, to local grassroots activity across the country, Americans will continue to resist this toxic tax plan.

“Progressive groups have come together to prevent Republicans from rigging the system even further for the wealthy and well-connected, and we will not quit until this taxpayer-funded giveaway to millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations is stopped dead in its tracks. After months of activity, we continue to mobilize thousands of activists to stop Republicans attempts to raise taxes on middle-class families. Congressional Republicans should take note: we will hold you accountable for every vote you take that threatens the health and financial security of your constituents,” Hogan added.

“This bill has always been about giving massive tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations, paid for by the rest of us — and our groups have been fired up about that from the beginning,” said Ezra Levin, Co-Executive Director of Indivisible, a member of the Not One Penny coalition. “Even before this tax fight became a health care fight, we had over 100 events in every corner of this country to oppose the Trump Tax Scam. Now that Republicans have explicitly included ACA repeal, our groups are even more energized than before.”

The bill now moves to the Senate where it is sure to face stiff opposition, especially after the news that Senator McConnell added the repeal of the Affordable Care Act to their tax plan.

Should-be Republican supporters are beginning to defect from the GOP tax plan because of the disastrous impact it would have on the American economy and the harm it would have on millions of middle-class families. Opposition to the plan includes:

  • Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, who said the plan benefits corporations over small businesses, and he finds the process being used to rush the bill “offensive.”
  • Arizona Senator Jeff Flake said, “I remain concerned over how the current tax reform proposals will grow the already staggering national debt by opting for short-term fixes while ignoring long-term problems for taxpayers and the economy.”
  • MaineSenator Susan Collins said, “I don’t think it’s a good idea from either a political or policy perspective.” Tennessee Senator Bob Corker said, “If I believe it’s going to add to the deficit, I’m not going to vote for it.”
  • Oklahoma Senator James Lankfordsaid, “It’s one thing to be able to cut taxes. It’s another thing to say how are we going to deal with our debt and deficit.”
  • Texas Senator Ted Cruzsaid, “Right now, they don’t have my vote.”

Make sure to let your Senators know how you feel about this new proposal. The Senate Democrats are unanimous against the bill but in order to ensure this bill never reaches the President’s desk we need to get at least three Republicans to vote it down.

“We need bipartisan tax reform that simplifies our tax code to help small businesses and delivers meaningful relief to middle-class families. Sadly, the tax bill approved last night is a partisan effort that doesn’t meet any of those goals,” said Senator Shaheen. “This bill would add over one and a half trillion dollars to our national debt and hurt Granite State students, seniors and working families, all to provide tax cuts to the very wealthy and large corporations. I stand ready to work with Republicans and Democrats to reform our tax code, but we need a bill that’s fiscally responsible, helps grow our economy and prioritizes the middle class.”

Shea-Porter, Walz Secure TRICARE Fairness Provision in Final Bicameral Defense Bill

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), a four-term member of the House Armed Services Committee, and Congressman Tim Walz (MN-01), Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, announced the inclusion of their provision to extend TRICARE health benefits currently available to Active Component forces to deployed reserve component service members in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), as reported out of the Conference Committee.

“Our National Guard and Reserve members deserve the same benefits as those they serve alongside,” said Rep. Shea-Porter. “With this fix, all our overseas troops and their families will now have access to TRICARE health benefits, both before and after deployment. I was glad to work with Congressman Walz on this legislation, and I thank him for serving our nation and then being a tireless advocate for all those who served.”

“This is about recognizing the sacrifice of all our men and women who volunteer freely to serve this nation,” said Rep. Tim Walz. “Ensuring fairness in TRICARE health benefits to National Guard and Reserve Component troops who answer the call to serve right alongside their Active Component counterparts is the right thing to do. I thank Rep. Shea-Porter, our VSO partners, and most importantly, our veterans, servicemembers and military families for fighting to bring these brave Americans and their loved ones the peace of mind that comes with knowing they will now be eligible for TRICARE health benefits.”

The provision was first introduced as part of H.R. 1384, the Reserve Component Benefits Parity Act, a comprehensive, bipartisan bill to provide fairness to certain mobilized National Guard and Reserve Component service members by extending eligibility for certain benefits. H.R.1384 was sponsored by Walz and co-introduced by Shea-Porter and Reps. Palazzo (MS-04) and Franks (AZ-08).

In October, Shea-Porter and Walz wrote to the NDAA conferees to urge them to retain Section 503 of the House NDAA, which would authorize Reserve Component members activated under the authority provided by either §12304a or §12304b of title 10, United States Code, to receive pre-mobilization and transitional TRICARE health care. Their letter was cosigned by Reps. Palazzo, Rosen, Moulton, Brown, Jones, Stivers, Bordallo, Lamborn, Hanabusa, Moore (WI), Gonzalez, DesJarlais, McGovern, Radewagen, and Gallego.

 

A large number of veterans and military organizations supported the fix, including the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), the Military Coalition (TMC), the Reserve Officers Association (ROA), the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS), the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), the National Military Family Association, the Air Force Association, the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), and the Association of the United States Navy (AUSN).

 

NH Delegation Questions EPA on Public Disclosure of Risks from PFOA and PFOS

Washington, DC – On Friday, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) and Annie Kuster (D-NH) regarding reports in a recent New York Times article that described the EPA’s efforts to weaken chemical safety regulations that could affect access to public information on the risks of emerging contaminants, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), chemical materials that have contaminated drinking water in several New Hampshire communities.

“We are deeply troubled by reports and an October 21st 2017 New York Times article that described how in spite of objections from scientists and administrators in multiple offices within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), political appointees at the agency weakened recent regulations promulgated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), our nation’s principal chemical safety law. We are concerned that these actions not only ignore Congressional intent but may also deprive Granite Staters of critical information about the risks that chemical materials, particularly perfluorinated compounds, pose to their families’ health,” wrote the delegation.

The delegation continued, “In particular, we take issue with the reversal of EPA’s approach to a chemical substance’s ‘condition of use’…This change has far-reaching consequences and may limit the agency’s evaluation of legacy chemicals including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).”

Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) like PFOA and PFOS have emerged as a widespread contamination in drinking water sources in several southern New Hampshire towns and were responsible for the closing of a major water supply well located at the former Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth. While the health effects of these chemicals are still being determined, studies have linked PFC exposure to developmental damage, certain cancers and immune system dysfunction.

In the letter, the delegation questions what effect the new rules will have on tracking the health consequences of PFOA and PFOS and therefore appropriately regulate these harmful materials.

Senator Shaheen and Congresswoman Shea-Porter secured amendments to their respective chambers’ annual defense authorization bill that establishes the first-ever nationwide study on the human health effects of those exposed to PFCs in their drinking water. Earlier this year, Senator Shaheen joined with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to introduce the bipartisan Safe Drinking Water Assistance Act, which addresses barriers that limit the EPA response to emerging contaminants. Additionally, as the lead Democrat on the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Shaheen included a provision in the subcommittee’s annual appropriations bill to identify research gaps in addressing the potential health implications associated with exposure to emerging contaminants. The House unanimously adopted an amendment written by Congresswoman Shea-Porter appropriating $7 million to launch the national health impact study authorized in the House and Senate-passed defense bills.

As Governor of New Hampshire, Senator Hassan urged the EPA to set a lifetime health advisory for certain PFCs to help states assess the safety of drinking water. In addition, then-Governor Hassan worked with state agencies, federal partners, and residents in the area to make blood tests available to everyone potentially exposed to PFCs, as well as to raise awareness about the health risks of these emerging contaminants and to expand monitoring of wells outside of the Coakley landfill footprint. Furthermore, Senator Hassan formed the Governor’s Task Force on the Seacoast Cancer Cluster to help create an organized response to the health and environmental concerns that the Seacoast pediatric cancer cluster has raised. In the Senate, Senator Hassan has built on those efforts, cosponsoring legislation that requires the EPA to develop a maximum contaminant level for perfluorinated compounds, 1,4 dioxane, and perchlorate in public water systems across America within two years of the bill’s enactment. Both Senator Hassan and Senator Shaheen urged the U.S. Air Force to clean up water supplies at the former Pease Air Force Base that are contaminated with PFCs.

Senators Shaheen and Hassan have worked tirelessly to hold the EPA accountable for actions that undermine efforts to inform the public about the potential health implications caused by exposure to emerging contaminants. Earlier this month, the senators sent a letter to Acting Administrator Deborah Szaro questioning the timing of the EPA’s disclosurethat determined the Coakley Landfill does not pose an “unacceptable human health risk.” Last week, the EPA responded to the senators’ letter. Senators Shaheen and Hassan will continue to demand much needed answers from the EPA on behalf of New Hampshire families.

The letter to Administrator Pruitt can be read here and below.

10-27-17_NH delegation letter to EPA on TSCA

Shea-Porter Co-Introduces Legislation Requiring Drug Companies to Negotiate Lower Drug Prices for Seniors

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) today co-introduced legislation to require the federal government to leverage its bulk purchasing power to negotiate lower Medicare drug prices for seniors.

“During the ten years I have been advocating for Medicare to negotiate the cost of prescription drugs, prices have skyrocketed while pharmaceutical companies have kept raking in astounding profits and left seniors and other taxpayers holding the bill,” said Shea-Porter. “It’s past time for Congress to stand up to Big Pharma and clamp down on these out-of-control drug prices.”

Current law, passed by a Republican majority, prohibits the Secretary of Health and Human Services from negotiating directly with pharmaceutical companies for lower Medicare drug prices. As a result, Medicare pays, on average, 73 percent more than Medicaid and 80 percent more than the Veterans Administration (VA) for brand-name drugs. If Medicare paid the same price for drugs as Medicaid and the VA, the federal government could save between $15.2 billion and $16 billion a year.

Photo by ccPix.com CC via Flickr

This bill is endorsed by the Alliance for Retired Americans, American Federation of Teachers, the Center for Medicare Advocacy, CREDO, Doctors for America, the Economic Policy Institute Policy Center, Families USA, Knowledge Ecology International, Medicare Rights Center, MoveOn, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Patients for Affordable Drugs, Prescription Justice, Public Citizen, Social Security Works, and The Senior Citizens League.

For a copy of the legislation, click here.

For a fact sheet, click here.

Trump’s Sabotage Of The Affordable Care Act Will Hurt New Hampshire Families

Trump’s ACA Sabotage, Executive Order Will Gut Protections, Force Sickest to Pay Skyrocketing Prices, Destabilize Health Care for New Hampshire Families

Following an Executive Order that will increase junk insurance plans, news follows that President Trump will immediately end cost-sharing payments and destabilize health insurance markets

Concord, NH Yesterday, President Trump issued a new executive order that will expand the availability of junk insurance plans in a direct attempt to trigger the collapse of the entire private health insurance market and destroy the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Last night, the Trump administration signaled that it would also immediately end cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies, which analysts and advocates agree will destabilize health insurance markets in New Hampshire and across the nation.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated back in August that ending cost-sharing reductions would increase insurance premiums by 20% next year alone, effectively kick a million Americans off insurance, and add $194 billion to the deficit.

“These partisan, political acts are part of Trump’s relentless campaign to sabotage the ACA by forcing premium increases, creating instability in the market, actively interfering with the ability of consumers to sign up for coverage, and rolling back the contraceptive coverage mandate,” said Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins. “These actions threaten the collapse of the entire individual health insurance market and leave our sick and most vulnerable to pay the price.”

“For years, Trump and Congressional Republicans have called for the repeal of the health care law without offering any viable replacement. Trump is now bent on destroying the one health care law that allowed millions of Americans to gain health insurance and improved coverage for essential health care benefits like maternity, mental health, and prescription drugs. Trump is stripping these important consumer protections and ending critical payments that help millions of lower-income Americans afford coverage. Any problems in our health care system from here on out rest solely at the feet of President Trump and other politicians who have created instability and skyrocketing premiums, and allowed the sale of junk plans without the essential health coverage people need when they are sick,” Rice-Hawkins added.

“Last night, Trumpcare became a reality. By refusing to continue cost-sharing reduction payments, President Trump has committed his most shameful act of sabotage on the insurance markets, threatening the health and wellbeing of millions of Americans and making premiums skyrocket for millions more,” said Raymond Buckley, Chair of the NH Democratic Party.  “Governor Sununu’s self-proclaimed closeness with Trump and his administration hasn’t yielded any help for New Hampshire. Instead, Sununu’s constant praise and support of Trump is starting to look like blind flattery.”

Buckley continued, “Make no mistake, Governor Sununu has precipitated Trump’s sabotage by fueling the flames of ACA repeal,  opposing Medicaid expansion, supporting various forms of Trumpcare, proposing Medicaid block grants, rejecting a reinsurance program, and refusing to join a bipartisan group of governors in calling for the protection of key health care protections. Rather than actively campaigning against dangerous Republican health care ideas, Sununu has either stayed silent or belatedly voiced his opposition once and disappeared. That is not leadership. Sununu is engaging in political calculation when Granite Staters need its governor the most.”

In a letter to President Trump in August, Governor Chris Sununu called for Trump to continue the cost sharing reduction payments. One of the main requests in the letter:

“Commit to funding CSR reimbursements for 2017 and 2018: Carriers calculate their rates far in advance, so continued uncertainty about the reimbursements fuel dramatic increases and could lead them to exit the market. This hurts consumers – most of all, those who cannot get coverage through work and do not qualify for federal subsidies. While I am sympathetic to the argument that these payments are a subsidy, to withhold them at this late date as carriers are trying to calculate rates is resulting in significant instability and further rate increases and fewer options.”

“Despite the American people’s rejection of the Affordable Care Act repeal, this new order is part of a concerted effort by the Trump administration to unravel the law’s patient protections and to destabilize healthcare marketplaces,” said Senator Shaheen. “This order only introduces more unnecessary chaos into our healthcare system, which undermines the healthcare that Granite Staters, and all Americans, depend on. The President must abandon these political efforts to destabilize the ACA, and finally prioritize working with Congress to address and fix this manufactured crisis. There are Republicans and Democrats who are ready to move forward with bipartisan legislation that will provide stability in the insurance marketplace, increase access to care and lower cost sharing.”

Senator Shaheen is leading efforts in the Senate to provide marketplace stability by permanently continuing and increasing eligibility for cost-sharing reduction payments. Her bill, the Marketplace Certainty Act, would make cost-sharing reduction payments permanent and expand eligibility to more working Americans.

“By deciding to stop payments for so-called cost-sharing reductions – which help lower deductibles, co-pays, and other out-of-pocket expenses – President Trump is cruelly and intentionally raising health care costs for millions of Americans,” said Senator Maggie Hassan. “The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that stopping these payments would cause health insurance premiums to skyrocket for millions of Americans while also ballooning the federal deficit, yet the President moved forward with this plan out of political spite. I have pushed for months to get Congress to act to provide certainty around these payments and help block the Trump Administration’s blatant sabotage attempts, and now is the time to finally stop this madness.”

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter said that Trump should be “ashamed” for his actions that “will torpedo the individual insurance market”

“He is right to be so ashamed of this spiteful action he would only announce it in the dead of night. Stopping these payments won’t just hurt the lower-income people whose out-of-pocket costs are defrayed by CSRs, it will also hurt every one of the millions of Americans who buy their own coverage. That’s because insurance companies say they are going to charge everyone more to make up for the lost funding. Congress must act immediately to fund CSRs and protect our constituents from Trump’s vengeful and destructive actions.”

Congresswoman Annie Kuster also spoke out against the order.

“President Trump’s announcement today sadly continues to take us in the wrong direction on health care. During the last several months, I have been encouraged by conversations with both Republicans and Democrats about how we can address the ongoing challenges with the Affordable Care Act.  I believe that there are areas where we can all agree on solutions to fix issues faced by some Americans. Today’s executive order simply reverts back to the failed repeal and replace mantra. This executive order will result in higher costs to consumers and less access to health care for Granite State families. I will continue to work with my Democratic and Republican colleagues to look for commonsense solutions to stabilize the individual marketplace and strengthen our health care system.”

This executive order is not about helping people gain insurance coverage it is outright sabotage.  Millions of hard working Americans will be harmed by this executive order.  Some will lose their coverage. Some will be force to go without coverage because the costs are too high. Some will be forced to pay outrageously high premiums as they have no other option for coverage.

The American People spoke out loud and clear against the Republican healthcare plan. The Senate rejected the measure over and over because even some Republicans know that this plan will due massive harm to the American people.  But President Trump does not care about the will of the people, he is running the country like a unhinged tyrant.


UPDATED to include statement from NH Democratic Leadership

Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn, Senate Deputy Democratic Leader Donna Soucy, House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff and House Deputy Democratic Leader Cindy Rosenwald issued the following joint statement:

“President Trump’s decision to end cost-sharing reduction payments will dramatically hurt New Hampshire families’ ability to afford and access the health insurance they need. The Trump administration’s varied attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and its protections are shameful and it is abundantly clear that this effort is an attempt to settle a political score rather than act in the best interest of the American people.

Today, we are calling on Governor Sununu and New Hampshire’s Republican legislative leaders to pass a reinsurance program to provide as much relief as possible to Granite Staters who will see premiums go up an average of 20% next year as a result of President Trump’s decision to cancel CSR payments. We are also calling on New Hampshire’s Attorney General Gordon MacDonald to join Attorneys General across the country who are promising to sue the Trump administration to protect cost-sharing reductions. We will work with anyone, anywhere to make sure Granite Staters continue to see the protections and guarantees they have received under the Affordable Care Act and fight back against President Trump’s destructive sabotage.”

BREAKING NEWS: Carol Shea-Porter Not To Seek Reelection In 2018

Shea-Porter Statement on not seeking reelection in 2018

Rochester, NH— Today, Carol Shea-Porter released the following statement on her decision to not seek reelection:

“To the Good People of New Hampshire, the Greatest State in America,

Thank you so much for electing me to Congress for four terms. You gave me the great honor of representing our state and being the first woman ever to be elected to federal office from New Hampshire, and the first Democrat to represent New Hampshire’s First District in 22 years, and I have worked each day with only one thought—to serve our state and our nation. But the time has come in my life to pause and decide on a different path, so I am announcing my intention to leave the House of Representatives in January 2019, when my present term ends.

This has been a very difficult decision, given how much I have enjoyed serving [the people of New Hampshire] in the House and the fact that the 2018 election is shaping up to be like 2006, when I was first elected, an important time when Congress changed political leadership and was able to move America forward. While I certainly would enjoy being part of that, I felt the tug of family at our reunion on Independence Day, and I have continued to feel it. My family has said repeatedly that they would support any decision I made, and I am grateful to them for that and for all of their love and support through the years.

I have been blessed with an amazing staff who love New Hampshire’s people as much as I do, and with a very large contingent of wonderful committed supporters who share a vision of an America with government that believes in honest and open elections, creates opportunity for all, supports local business and grows the economy while it cares for its young, its old, and its most vulnerable citizens, and believes in good stewardship of our Earth and its resources. I first won in 2006 without a single paid staffer because of their hard work. I also thank Republican and Independent voters for their confidence, and I have listened to their concerns as well. Coming from a Republican family, I know that we need to hear each other, even if we don’t always agree on policy.

I have great faith in our ability to overcome challenges and to come together again, and I will continue to speak out. As Granny D, New Hampshire’s champion for campaign finance reform, said, ‘democracy is not something we have, it’s something we do.’ And as I always add, it will go away if we don’t “do” democracy by engaging on the issues and voting. I am greatly encouraged by the heightened civic engagement I am seeing.

I look forward to seeing the House change political leadership again and produce legislation that helps all Americans move forward, with both parties working together, and I will do my part to make that happen. I will also continue to advocate in Congress for the people of New Hampshire until January 2019. Thank you again for the great privilege of representing you.”


A personal note from Matt Murray, creator of the NH Labor News.

I have known Representative Shea-Porter for over ten years now.  She was the first Congressional Representative I met in person.  I have personally worked on her campaign in the past and have supported her all the way.  Carol is truly on of the smartest and most progressive leaders in the House and has spent more than half of time in Washington fighting the uphill battle against the Republican domination.  Carol’s outspoken advocacy for working people will be missed, but I would like to wish her the best in the future.


NHDP Chair Ray Buckley:

“Thank you Carol-Shea Porter for your four terms of service to New Hampshire and our country. You have served the Granite State with great distinction. Your unflinching devotion to the ‘99% of the rest of us’ for over a decade has been a clear call for reform & progress. New Hampshire is proud and honored to have you represent us in Washington and your presence will be dearly missed after 2018. Your leadership has undoubtedly inspired so many to stand up and fight for what they believe in. As the first New Hampshire woman elected to federal office, you are trailblazer and a role model for us all. While we are saddened by your departure, we know your leadership will have paved the way for another great New Hampshire leader to follow in your footsteps.”

Senator Jeanne Shaheen:

“Throughout her career, Carol has been a stalwart defender and champion of New Hampshire,” said Shaheen. “New Hampshire’s first district has been well served by her tireless devotion to the middle class and the most vulnerable in our society. As the first woman to be elected to New Hampshire’s federal delegation, she’s a trail blazer in her own right, who has been a fearless advocate for women’s equality. I look forward to working with her through the remainder of her term, and to seeing what the future brings.”

Senator Maggie Hassan: 

“Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter has been a fierce advocate for the people of the first congressional district, and it has been an honor to serve alongside her. New Hampshire is a stronger state because of her tireless work to expand economic opportunity for Granite Staters, and her leadership will be sorely missed. I look forward to continuing to work with Congresswoman Shea-Porter for the remainder of the 115th Congress and beyond to deliver results for our great state.”

Congresswoman Annie Kuster:

“Carol Shea-Porter has been an incredible advocate for the people of her district and all of New Hampshire in her four terms in office. The first woman elected to Congress from New Hampshire, she has been a trailblazer for women in politics and has served as a strong voice for hardworking Granite State families. I have always – and will continue to – value her counsel and friendship in the House of Representatives. I know that she will remain a force in New Hampshire as she fights to improve the lives of all Granite Staters.”

Republicans In The US House Push Through Drastic Cuts That Will Hurt Working People

Today, the US House voted, mostly along party lines to approve the Republican budget proposal.  The proposal would stick it to federal workers who will be forced to pay more for retirement benefits, eliminate cost of living adjustments for retirees, increase the calculation of retirement benefits from three years to five years, eliminate Social Security stipends for federal workers who retire prior to age 62, and takes an axe to Medicare and Medicaid.

“The budget does not achieve one penny of deficit reduction by closing tax loopholes that benefit billionaires and corporations. Instead, it drains resources from programs the American people need and strongly support, particularly those helping the most vulnerable Americans,” wrote the House Democratic Budget Committee Members. “The Republican budget burdens American taxpayers with a $1.6 billion bill to begin constructing a costly and ineffective border wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico.”

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) was a resounding “No” on this budget proposal.

“A budget is a moral document that lays out our priorities for America. This year’s House Republican Budget once again shows a dangerous and destructive vision of our nation’s future that would leave seniors and working families to fall further and further behind,” said Shea-Porter.

“Today, House Republicans voted to end the Medicare guarantee and instead give seniors vouchers to fend for themselves. They voted to slash Medicaid, which supports about two-thirds of nursing home residents. And their budget calls for changes to the tax code that would further benefit the wealthiest and the biggest corporations at the expense of working families and small businesses. Like the President’s budget, this budget would use these tax cuts for the wealthy as an excuse to slash spending on education, infrastructure, medical research, veterans benefits, and other investments in our future.”

“Today, House Republicans showed us their road map to exacerbate inequality in America. I will keep fighting to keep this budget’s dangerous vision from becoming our reality,” Shea-Porter concluded.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster also voted against the budget resolution.

“The extreme Republican budget that I opposed today sets all the wrong priorities for hardworking families in New Hampshire and across our country,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “This budget gives massive tax cuts to the ultra-rich while slashing critical education funding, infrastructure investment, consumer protection, and other vital needs.  The resolution also massively cuts Medicaid and Medicare and repeals the Affordable Care Act, which has been so critical in responding to the opioid epidemic. I will continue to oppose these misguided priorities as I fight for middle class families.”

The Hill magazine explained the proposed cuts to federal retirement in their article.

“A 6 percentage point increase in employee contributions to the Federal Employees Retirement System, phased in over six years; the elimination of cost of living adjustments for FERS employees and a 0.5 percent reduction in COLAs for Civil Service Retirement System enrollees; elimination of the FERS supplement for employees who retire before Social Security kicks in at age 62; and basing the value of retirement benefits on the highest five years of employees’ earnings instead of the current highest three years.”

This means that federal workers are going to be forced to an addition 6% towards the federal retirement program. That is a pay cut for workers even after Trump announced a measly federal pay raise of 1.4%.

“In the years after the Great Recession, no other group sacrificed more for the American public than federal employees,” said J. David Cox, American Federation of Government Employees National President. “They have given up more than $182 billion in wages and benefits – totaling $91,000 per career civil servant.”

If these provisions are incorporated into the final budget, federal workers will see less money in their paychecks.

“This sets the stage for the federal community to pay for tax reform,” Jessica Klement, legislative director of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association told the Hill. “You’re paying for middle class tax cuts on the backs of middle class federal employees and retirees. It goes against the fundamental premise of this tax reform package.”

News also broke yesterday that federal workers are going to see a 6.1% increase to their healthcare premiums next year.

“These rate hikes mean less take-home pay for current and retired federal workers and another year of difficult decisions by many families on how to pay their bills. The premium hikes announced today by the federal government far eclipse any increase in wages or Social Security payments next year,” said Cox.

The pain for working people does not end there.  Republicans hacked up Medicare and Medicaid, slashing $1.5 trillion dollars from the programs over the next 10 years.  The plan would cut more than $1 trillion from Medicaid, the single largest insurance provider in the country, and $500 million from Medicare, to give more tax breaks to the wealthy.

“Cuts of more than $1 trillion to Medicaid will force states to make deep cuts in the number of people who receive benefits, or the amount of health care provided,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans.  “Over 70 million beneficiaries rely on Medicaid, including almost 6 million seniors who depend on it for their nursing home and home care services.”

“This budget raises the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 and turns guaranteed benefits into a system of inadequate vouchers. It is a stab in the back to the millions who contribute to Medicare throughout their lives, expecting it to be there when they retire.”

“Knowing that President Trump is colluding with House Speaker Ryan to pass this budget after he promised not to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security is beyond appalling. Alliance members will send a clear message to members of the House: Hands off my Medicare and Medicaid,” Fiesta concluded.

If this budget does go through as written it will increase our national deficit and slash programs working people rely on.

The Republican Sabotage Of Healthcare

We can all agree that the Affordable Care Act is not perfect but it was a monumental step in the right direction at a time when insurance companies were raking in record profits, jacking up rates by double digits, making the cost of insurance unaffordable for millions of Americans.

Since the ACA passed, Republicans have been trying to repeal it. Over the last eight years, Republicans have made more than 60 attempts to repeal the bill and only in the last six months have they ever offered any type of replacement.

Their latest replacement plan, that was ironically killed by three moderate Republicans in the Senate, would have kicked an estimated 32 million Americans off of their healthcare plans and would have transitioned Medicaid into a block grant system.  Ending Medicaid would have left millions of children, seniors, and the disabled without out any coverage at all.

Medicaid is the largest single provider of insurance in the country.  Nearly 40% of all child births in New Hampshire are covered by Medicaid.  Medicaid covers the cost for millions of disabled Americans who use funds to live in their own homes.  This is why dozens of ADAPT (Americans Disabled Attendant Programs Today) members protested during the Senate hearing on the Graham-Cassidy bill.

“Graham-Cassidy is the worst bill yet that Republicans have come up with to repeal Obamacare. This wasn’t what they campaigned on; they didn’t campaign to strip away the services that disabled people and seniors rely on to live in the community,” said Bruce Darling, an organizer with ADAPT. “They campaigned on fixing Obamacare and I don’t understand why they continue to target our community with cuts that will steal disabled lives instead of actually fixing anything.”

Cuts to Medicaid funding will fall first and hardest on community based services, forcing disabled people into institutions which will be underfunded hives of abuse, neglect, and human misery.

“The cuts to Medicaid funding are cruel and un-American,” said Dawn Russell, ADAPT organizer from Denver Colorado. “Forcing disabled people and seniors into institutions just to pay for tax cuts, which is what this bill does, is not equality. It’s not liberty. Graham-Cassidy is a policy for a much crueler and meaner country than this one, and the people who support it should be ashamed of themselves.”

Recently, Senator Hassan shared the story of Bodhi Bhattari, a Concord boy who experiences spinal muscular atrophy and needs hundreds of thousands of dollars in life-saving drugs every year. Bodhi’s mother, Deodonne Bhattarai, told WMUR that under the Graham-Cassidy Trumpcare proposal, “If we sold our house, we could probably keep him alive for another year.”

Now, the New Hampshire Department of Insurance estimates that 25,000 people, who get their insurance from the healthcare exchange, will see a 52% increase.

“Among 97,000 people in the individual insurance market, the 74 percent who either get federal subsidies or are part of the expanded Medicaid program will likely see their premiums drop or remain flat in 2018. But the 26 percent who pay the full cost will see sharp increases,” wrote Holly Ramer of the Associated Press.

The news of this dramatic increase on those trying to provide healthcare for their families, outraged legislators.

“I am outraged that some middle-class New Hampshire families will suffer huge premium hikes next year because of the chaos D.C. Republicans have created in the individual insurance market,” said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter.  “This is exactly why I spent the past year urging my colleagues to pass bipartisan marketplace stabilization legislation, which would have provided insurers with needed certainty, and also why Congress should pass my bill, the Medicare You Can Opt Into Act, and make sure every American has an affordable option that’s not vulnerable to profit-driven rate hikes.”

“That said, let me be clear: thanks to the Affordable Care Act and its Medicaid expansion, New Hampshire’s uninsured rate is at an all-time low, and I will not allow Republican state officials to use the disruption their party has caused in the individual market as justification to jeopardize that progress by ending an essential program that covers over 50,000 people in New Hampshire,” Shea-Porter added.

In the US Senate, Senator Shaheen has been working to avoid these rate hikes. Earlier this year, Senator Shaheen introduced the Marketplace Certainty Act to permanently appropriate payments for cost-sharing reductions to help stabilize state marketplaces and expand eligibility for hard-working Americans who need help paying their premiums.

“These rate increases for next year would be devastating, yet have always been avoidable,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “This administration has followed through on President Trump’s threat to sabotage healthcare marketplaces as leverage to repeal the Affordable Care Act. New Hampshire families are now forced to pay the price for the Trump administration’s shameful behavior. I have been pleading with Republican leadership to allow bipartisan efforts to stabilize the healthcare marketplace to move forward, but instead, they chose to use this valuable time to make another attempt at repealing the Affordable Care Act—a law that has helped tens of thousands of Granite Staters gain access to healthcare coverage. Republicans must return to the negotiating table and work with Democrats to craft bipartisan legislation that would stabilize the marketplaces. We need to work together to mitigate the harm caused by the Administration and help working families access quality and affordable insurance.”

As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Senator Maggie Hassan participated this month in bipartisan health care hearings focused on stabilizing the individual health insurance market and lowering costs.

At a press conference after the defeat of the Graham-Cassidy bill, Senator Hassan said:

“We know that there is more to do on health care. There isn’t a Democrat here who doesn’t know that there are improvements we need to make. I am committed to working with members of both parties on the HELP Committee and throughout the United States Senate to come together and find ways in the short-term to stabilize our markets and lower costs. We have to address pharmaceutical costs. We have to address health care outcomes. But as long as there is this threat out there of another Trumpcare attempt, it’s going to be harder for us to do that, and it’s going to cause disruption in the very lives of the people we were sent here to represent.”

In the U.S. House, Congresswoman Annie Kuster, who also saw the possibility of massive rate hikes looming, has been working to stabilize the marketplace. Earlier this year, Kuster and nine House Democrats unveiled a five-part plan to improve upon the Affordable Care Act and stabilize the individual marketplace.

“I’ve discussed with Republican colleagues various proposals to stabilize the individual marketplace and rein in costs. I genuinely believe that there are many areas of agreement that can be reached to improve our healthcare system and I’m hopeful that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will come to the table in good faith to get this done for the American people,” said Kuster.

Not only has the President and the Republican leadership actively worked to repeal the ACA, they have been ensuring its failure by slashing funding to the program.

Congresswoman Shea-Porter pushed back by calling on the President to release funding allocated for the exchange “navigators” program.

“Navigators are an essential resource for the American people, and the Navigator program is critical to the success of Open Enrollment. We urge you to unfreeze these funds immediately,” Shea-Porter wrote. “Americans already face a number of new hurdles to enrolling in coverage during the upcoming Open Enrollment period, including an enrollment timeframe that has been cut in half and a 90% cut to the outreach budget that could have informed consumers about this significant change. Destabilizing the Navigator program could further compound the challenges consumers will face in understanding when and how to enroll.”

Shea-Porter also submitted an amendment that would save the Navigator grant program from elimination in House Republicans’ Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus appropriations bill.

We have known for a while that the ACA needs adjustments, but you would not toss out your car because of a loose spark plug.  We need to stop this ideological and political attack on the ACA and do what is really needed to help working families.

Of course there are many among us who believe the best way to solve the entire insurance issue is to eliminate private insurance all together and move to a national single player system.

Congresswoman Shea-Porter Responds To Governor Sununu On Proposed Tax Reform Legislation

Congresswoman: Tax Plans Must Prioritize New Hampshire’s Working Families 

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) today responded to a letter Governor Chris Sununu sent her earlier in September regarding potential tax reform legislation. Shea-Porter’s letter outlines the pro-working-family, pro-small-business principles she will use to evaluate any Congressional tax proposal.

“I have long called for the elimination of tax expenditures written by corporations and lobbyists with no justification but their own financial gain, while I have also strongly supported the many provisions that benefit Granite State residents and businesses,” wrote Shea-Porter. “My priorities have not changed: I will continue to fight to unrig our tax code so that it supports working families and small businesses.”

In the letter, Shea-Porter outlined the principles any tax reform package must meet to earn her support. She wrote: “I am eager to work with policymakers on both sides of the aisle to reform tax policy in a way that achieves our shared goals of lowering taxes on small businesses and providing fairness for working people, and I am encouraged by your outreach regarding this effort…I strongly believe that tax reform proposals must meet the following minimum standards: fairness for families; lower taxes on small businesses; increased simplicity; inclusion of the Buffett Rule; and revenue neutrality.”

Shea-Porter has long championed tax reform “for the rest of us” while opposing recent Republican-led efforts to lower taxes for wealthy individuals and large corporations. In 2010, Shea-Porter sought to block the extension of Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Throughout her time in Congress, Shea-Porter has fought for tax breaks that help working families and support education. In 2012, she introduced the REPAY Supplies Act, a bill to allow K-12 teachers to claim an above-the-line deduction for classroom expenses, which became a permanent U.S. tax code provision. Earlier this year, she introduced a bill to make the above-the-line deduction for higher education tuition expenses permanent for students and families.

 

The full text of Shea-Porter’s letter:

Governor Christopher T. Sununu

Office of the Governor

 

Dear Governor Sununu:

Thank you for your September 5, 2017 letter expressing support for comprehensive tax reform. I could not help but notice, as I read your letter, that you highlighted a number of important issues that I, too, have long championed: fairness, tax relief for small businesses, and enhanced opportunity for American workers. My priorities have not changed: I will continue to fight to unrig our tax code so that it supports working families and small businesses.

As you know, tax reform has been a challenging goal for a number of years. In 2014, then-Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) released a comprehensive tax reform bill, H.R.1, The Tax Reform Act of 2014. Mr. Camp spent months developing his proposal and created a tax plan that was (on paper) revenue neutral, lowered rates, created fewer brackets—and was widely disliked. This was not surprising. As you know, tax reform plans are only easy in concept: close loopholes to pay for lower rates and consolidate brackets in order to simplify compliance for taxpayers and stimulate job growth. It all makes for an easy soundbite and attractive political messaging, but Republican Speaker John Boehner could not get this through because comprehensive tax reform is hard.

In practice, crafting tax policy that advances our shared priorities requires specificity. For example, the $1.5 trillion in “special interest carve-outs, loopholes, and tax credits” that you identify in your letter – a figure commonly cited by the Treasury Department and Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation – includes not only corporate giveaways, but also provisions like the mortgage interest deduction that benefit New Hampshire families and the real estate industry, which are very important to our state and national economy.

I have long called for the elimination of tax expenditures written by corporations and lobbyists with no justification but their own financial gain, while I have also strongly supported the many provisions that benefit Granite State residents and businesses. From the level of detail provided in your letter, I am unable to discern which tax expenditures you consider wasteful and which expenditures you think we should keep.

Do you support the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credits, which together lift nearly 10 million Americans out of poverty? Do you support the exclusion for combat pay for our servicemembers? Do you support the exclusion for GI Bill benefits for our nation’s veterans? Do you support the mortgage interest deduction? Or property tax deduction? Or credits for higher education that help 12.6 million Americans and over 38,000 Granite Staters afford a college education? I do, and I will continue to speak up in support of these provisions – by name – as Congress works to reform our tax code.

I also agree that there are ways to simplify and eliminate waste from our tax code. For example, I believe we should eliminate the carried interest loophole, which allows Wall Street bankers to pay far lower taxes than middle class Americans, and end wasteful corporate subsidies, such as those for Big Oil. And I believe we should eliminate all tax incentives that encourage outsourcing jobs. These are just a few specific examples of changes that I support.

I am eager to work with policymakers on both sides of the aisle to reform tax policy in a way that achieves our shared goals of lowering taxes on small businesses and providing fairness for working people, and I am encouraged by your outreach regarding this effort. Unfortunately, the proposals that we have seen thus far from those leading the tax reform negotiations would disproportionately benefit the wealthy and add trillions to our debt. Furthermore, these proposals have not been made public or evaluated through the Congressional hearing process. Tax reform negotiations should be bipartisan, but neither the White House nor Republican leaders in Congress have made any effort to involve Democrats in this process. The Ways and Means Committee held over 30 public hearings prior to releasing Mr. Camp’s Tax Reform Act of 2014. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 was preceded by 30 days of full committee hearings.

I strongly believe that tax reform proposals must meet the following minimum standards: fairness for families; lower taxes on small businesses; increased simplicity; inclusion of the Buffett Rule; and revenue neutrality. It is my hope that we are in agreement both on these principles and on the elimination of the loopholes and corporate giveaways that I have specifically identified.

Your public support for these efforts, on behalf of those in the State both of us love and serve, would be sincerely welcome. I am hopeful that the Republican leadership in Congress and the President will work across the aisle to develop a plan that meets the standards outlined above. And I ask you to use your relationship with President Trump to influence him to release a detailed plan with specific proposals that meet these priorities.

Sincerely,

Carol Shea-Porter

Member of Congress

Shea-Porter Calls for Immediate Congressional Action on Expiring Health Care Programs, Hurricane Relief

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) today called for immediate Congressional action to reauthorize expiring health care programs and provide disaster relief to those impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“With five days remaining until the end of the fiscal year, it is irresponsible and unacceptable that House Republicans have failed to schedule votes to reauthorize expiring funding for the Medicaid Children’s Health Insurance Program and community health centers. Congress should also act immediately to help our fellow Americans in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands as they struggle with the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria,” said Shea-Porter.

Shea-Porter has repeatedly called for action to reauthorize the Medicaid Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which is set to expire this Friday, September 30 without Congressional action. In New Hampshire, over 95,000 children were covered by Medicaid and/or CHIP in 2016. Shea-Porter voted to pass a landmark reauthorization and expansion of CHIP in 2009, which has played a significant role in driving the national children’s uninsured rate down to an all-time low of 5% as of 2016.

Shea-Porter, a longstanding champion of Community Health Centers (CHCs) and the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), earlier this month cosponsored a bipartisan bill, the Community Health Improvement, Modernization and Excellence (CHIME) Act of 2017, which would extend CHC funding for five years. She also sent a letter with 46 bipartisan Members of Congress calling for continued NHSC funding. Without action by Congress before this Friday, September 30, New Hampshire’s CHCs will face a devastating 70% funding cut (which could mean a loss of nearly $16 million) and the NHSC will lose 100% of its funding. In New Hampshire, 12 CHCs receive federal funding for 29 sites serving more than 89,000 patients. New Hampshire CHCs employ 13 clinicians receiving NHSC loan repayment, and are currently recruiting for an additional 34 NHSC-eligible vacant primary care provider positions.

House Republicans have not yet scheduled a vote for Hurricane Irma and Maria disaster relief. Earlier this month, Shea-Porter voted for a bipartisan Hurricane Harvey disaster relief package. Shea-Porter’s advocacy for disaster relief is informed by her work as a Red Cross volunteer in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. The federal government’s inadequate response to that disaster helped inspire her to run for Congress.

  • Subscribe to the NH Labor News via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 12,514 other subscribers

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement