Union members in Minnesota are among those raising objections as the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on legislation to cut taxes, threatening important public services and providing handouts to the wealthy.
A vote could take place in the Senate as soon as Nov. 30, according to several media sources. The House has already passed its own bill.
Recently, retired union members and friends brought their concerns about tax fairness and threats to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security to Republican Congressman Erik Paulsen’s office. In an action organized by the Minneapolis Regional Retiree Council, a small group of Paulsen’s constituents delivered a letter to his office in Eden Prairie, while over 60 other people bannered at the street corner outside.
“We are angry that you have voted to cut Medicaid and Medicare and weaken Social Security,” the letter to the Congressman read. “You and your colleagues have chosen to hide threats to basic health and income security in vague budget resolutions and a misleading tax cut debate.
"With the stock market humming and unemployment at a low level, tax cuts are not the most important issue facing our country. Your tax proposal contains drastic cuts to important programs for seniors, the disabled and lower income citizens and would raise budget deficits well into the future.”
Lucy Olson, an MRRC member and AFSCME Local 34 retiree who lives in Paulsen’s district, led the delegation to his office where they met with an outreach staffer. “He said Congressman Paulsen has held a hundred town hall meetings with constituents,” Olson reported, “but, when we asked for a list of them, he said he couldn’t give us one.”
Meanwhile, people at the corner outside tried to reach the Congressman, with their phones, objecting to his vote in favor of a bill that eliminates the personal exemption and the deduction for state and local taxes, scraps the medical expense deduction and cuts billions of dollars from Medicare and Medicaid.
“What they’ve done is tax fraud,” declared MRRC President Leif Grina. “It’s bait and switch, offering a tax cut with one hand and screwing people with the other. We need to hold these guys accountable in 2018.”
Said Olson, “We need to reach out to other senior organizations, high rises and community centers to have discussions about the effect of these cuts to Medicare and Medicaid that Eric Paulsen and other Congressional Republicans are using to help pay for tax breaks for wealthy corporations and individuals.”
If the Senate passes a bill, lawmakers would have resolve differences between the Senate and House measures before sending legislation to President Trump for his signature.