Dear MoveOn member,
BREAKING: Republicans in the Senate (and only Republicans) just approved a budget that envisions a grotesque future—trillions of dollars in tax giveaways to the ultra wealthy, funded by cutting trillions from Medicaid, Medicare, and other vital programs for the poor and middle class.1,2
This vote is the starting gun for what might be the most consequential legislative fight of the Trump era: the looting of the U.S. treasury to reward billionaire GOP donors and mega-corporations, at the expense of the rest of us.
If Republicans succeed, their backers will reward them with boatloads of campaign cash—fueling their efforts to hold power in 2018 and 2020. If they fail, they'll turn on each other—opening the door toward a potential Democratic landslide. And beyond the political stakes, the human impact is vast: the acceleration of plutocracy in America and the shredding of the basic protections that tens of millions of American families depend on.
MoveOn, as part of the larger Resistance movement, is gearing up to tackle this fight with all of the urgency and relentlessness that we've brought to the battle against the Affordable Care Act repeal. Read on for a quick briefing on what's to come, but first, I need to ask you: Can you chip in $3 to help fund our fight against tax giveaways to billionaires?
Here's how this fight will go down:
Tonight's vote was on a budget resolution. Budget resolutions are nonbinding—they don't become law. Instead, they are moral documents—statements of priorities that shape future legislation. They have one critical function: You need to pass a budget resolution to open the door to a budget reconciliation bill, which is the only kind of tax cut bill that can't be filibustered, so it would need only 51 votes. And one of those 51 votes could be Vice President Mike Pence.
In other words, with this budget resolution in place, the GOP can shoot for a tax bill without a single Democratic vote. To defeat it, we'll need unified Democratic opposition, plus three Republicans in the Senate or 24 in the House. It's the same math that we faced with health care repeal. But winning this one will be even harder.
After the House and Senate iron out the differences between their budget resolutions (likely before Halloween), we'll enter the second stage of the battle: the fight over the tax scheme in the House.
Amidst the constant barrage of other news, the tax fight has been relatively low-profile so far. It'll probably stay that way until some time in early November, when the curtain is pulled back and the House GOP tax bill is revealed.
The public's reaction at that moment will be critical. Donanld Trump and his Republican pals will be in turbo spin mode, lying about who would benefit. (If you think that Trump has told some wild lies so far, wait until he has the chance to lie about money and a bill that would make him richer.) We can't let them get away with this. If enough of us raise our voices, together—with phone calls, protests, social media posts, letters to the editor—we can break through and make sure that the public learns what's really in the GOP bill and how it will tear at communities and hurt families around the country.
If the GOP has its way, the bill will sail through the House before Thanksgiving. But if we succeed in fighting back and make sure that it doesn't pass in November, there's a good chance that it won't pass in early December either, due to a hard deadline to pass a different, politically-complicated bill in order to avoid a government shutdown.
At some point, though, there's a good chance that this bill will pass the House. Then it goes to the Senate—the critical battlefield, where, again, three Republicans means victory.
Bob Corker of Tennessee has already said that he won't vote for a tax cut that raises the deficit by even a dime—and the GOP bill certainly does, ballooning it by at least $1.5 trillion. If Corker stands by that commitment (and we won't know until there's an actual vote), that means that we still need to secure two more Republican votes. And more if we can win them, just in case. This is our mission.
Just as with health care, we'll work in close partnership with a huge array of allies. MoveOn is a key part of two coalitions: Not One Penny—as in, not one penny in tax cuts for millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations—and Americans for Tax Fairness. We'll partner on days of action, coordinate floods of calls to Congress, and use creative ways to channel and dramatize the public's opposition to a bill that would make an already-rigged economy much more rigged in favor of the already best-off.
And all along the way, we'll make clear who ultimately pays for these tax cuts: people who depend on Medicaid, Medicare, and other essential government services to stay alive.
The GOP knows the political stakes. As Lindsey Graham said on national television, if Republicans don't pass these tax cuts, "we're dead."3 If they can't cut taxes for the rich and repeal the Affordable Care Act, he said that "[they're] going to lose across the board in the House in 2018."4
If the GOP loses in 2018, the American people win. And that's exactly our plan. Can you help make that happen?
The fight over the GOP tax bill is ultimately a fight about the moral character of our country. Are we a democracy, with government by, of, and for the people? Or are we an oligarchy, ruled by a tiny, self-serving elite?
Win or lose, standing up for the fundamental democratic idea of America is a central challenge of our time. It's a fight that we have to take part in. It's a fight that our grandchildren will thank us for winning.
Thanks for all you do.
–Ben, Seth, Elsie, Erica, and the rest of the team
1. "Senate Approves Budget Plan That Smooths Path Toward Tax Cut," The New York Times, October 19, 2017
2. "Republican Budget Priorities, Tax Breaks for Billionaires, Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid," Senate Budget Committee Minority Staff, accessed October 19, 2017
3. "Will Congress pass tax reform? 'If we don't we're dead,' says Sen. Lindsey Graham," CBS News, October 15, 2017
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