The United States Congress is finishing up its work for the year and will head home just two days before Christmas Eve. But they’re leaving the American people with lumps of coal under the tree, instead of what we’ve earned and deserve.
Let’s start with the big tax bill, which Congress passed and is certain to be signed into law by President Trump by the end of the week.
The bill gives huge tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and big corporations. Who pays for the tax breaks? Middle and low-families will see minimal benefits or even pay more in taxes. And by repealing the Obamacare rule that everyone purchase health insurance, everyone’s health insurance will be at risk. Even worse, the bill puts our country even deeper in debt, robbing future generations of badly needed investments.
Now that Congress has passed the tax bill, next up is keeping the government open past December 22nd, when federal funding runs out. If one faction of Scrooges in the House of Representatives gets their way, there won’t be any fix to ensure that Dreamers are protected, no disaster relief for people who need it most, no funding to replace the subsidies President Trump cut earlier this year that keep Obamacare insurance premiums from getting more expensive, no funding for renewing the Children’s Health Insurance Program without raiding programs that prevent obesity and smoking.
However, since this bill can’t pass without 60 of the Senate’s 100 votes, Republicans will be forced to make a deal with Democrats on many of these issues. If not, the government shuts down.
It’s a long list of issues to negotiate within a few days, and it doesn’t appear they’ll all get resolved before Christmas. For thousands of young Californians and their families, the most heartbreaking news is that it appears there probably won’t be a final agreement before the end of the year to protect Dreamers. But that debate isn’t over. Instead, it will likely become a central part of negotiations around a new government funding bill that Congress will need to act on by mid-January.
After that, don’t expect 2018 to get much easier. House Speaker Paul Ryan has said the focus for 2018 will be on entitlement cuts, including Medicaid, which provides health coverage for one in three Californians through the program we know as Medi-Cal.
We have our work cut out for us and we hope you join us.