Working on the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2009 and 2010 was one of the greatest honors of my career. While passing the legislation was neither legislatively nor politically easy, the Obama White House did so because it was the right thing to do. Among the law’s many accomplishments, nearly 20 million Americans have gained health insurance since the law’s passage; more than 9 in 10 Americans now have coverage. As many as 129 million Americans—including 19 million children—who have some type of pre-existing health condition are protected from coverage denials and reduced benefits; 137 million Americans, including 55 million women, gained access to critical no-cost preventive services.
By contrast, the tax scam slated to be enacted today is one of the most immoral, venal pieces of legislation I have seen in my two decades working in policy and politics. It will deliver colossal tax cuts for wealthy corporations, millionaires, and billionaires, while millions of hardworking families will pay more. What benefits there will be for working- and middle-class families will be extremely modest and temporary, dwarfed by the massive giveaways to GOP donors and members of Congress themselves.
The bill adds to President Donald Trump’s destructive and petty sabotage of the ACA by taking away health care from millions of Americans to pay for tax cuts for the richest Americans. The promise for so-called tax reform that would make the system fairer and simpler has been replaced by legislation that explodes loopholes and makes the tax code more, not less, complex. And this proposal will destroy America’s last great wilderness by turning the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge into an industrial oil field—a measure that has nothing to do with our tax code but everything to do with securing necessary votes.
President Trump and congressional Republican leadership aren’t being shy about broadcasting their two-step “starve the beast” playbook. Today, they’ll deliver massive tax breaks for the richest Americans, while raising taxes on many working- and middle-class Americans; and next, once they have exploded the deficit despite their years of so-called deficit hawkishness, they’ll work to take away your Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other essentials that working families turn to for basic living standards.
This deeply unpopular bill is a Pyrrhic victory for President Trump and the majority party. We will remember this vote that helped conservative donors by hurting middle-class Americans—and we will do what we can to ensure every American does as well.