Aside from the disturbing disconnect of Congress from the will of their constituents, the low priority that GOP lawmakers place on programs that affect 99.5% of households that make less than $1 million is, in a word, sad. Another word?
The Children’s Health Insurance Program remains unfunded, leaving 9 million children and their parents in a sickening limbo, unsure of whether they’ll have coverage in the year. As opposed to the tax bill, CHIP enjoys bipartisan and wide popular support. [SIGN THE CHIP PETITION HERE]
The other bipartisan bill Congress couldn’t bother to work on is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, that would maintain protections for 800,000 young adults brought to the U.S. without documentation as children, like Anna in Philadelphia.
A DACA recipient for three years, Anna (not her real name) is 26 and the mother of an adorable, 1 year old son who turns 2 in May. He’s toddling around the house, constantly repeating Mommy and beginning to learn numbers and letters in both English and Spanish.
She came to the United States from Honduras when she was eight years old, making Philadelphia her home right away. She went to school in Philadelphia, and was held back a grade because she was still learning English. She was the oldest student in her high school classes but her younger classmates had more independence when it came to driving, for example, because Anna could not obtain a driver’s license. Anna said she felt behind. Ironically, Anna’s talent for language helped her land a new job at the school district as a bilingual counselor – helping children like her excel in school.
She has a work permit and a driver’s license now, and her current job is more stable and pays better than her previous jobs working at restaurants when she was trying to stay in the background so as not to attract attention to herself and be deported.
She can’t imagine what her life would be like without DACA – particularly now because she has a son and is a newlywed. She vividly remembers when she was nine years old, before DACA existed, when ICE pushed through the door of her family’s house and took her uncle and her two older sisters’ husbands away and deported them back to Honduras. She said the experience was horrible and she would never want her young son or any child to be subjected to that type of trauma.
While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled the DACA bill will see a debate in January, that’s little comfort to the pain felt by families that Congressional indifference will prolong over the holidays and the frustrations of most Americans who seek a rapid resolution.
It’s a dream come true for the rich but a holiday nightmare for many others. The upside-down priorities of Washington are poised to do damage.
The Tax Policy Center confirmed that those households earning $1 million+ (comprising around half a percent of the population) would be reaping the lion’s share of the tax bill benefit, just shy of a whopping 82%.
“If we can’t sell this to the American people we ought to go into another line of work.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about the $1.5 trillion tax reform bill awaiting the President’s signature. Only 26% of Americans bought it….
“The students shouldn’t be the ones who suffer. The classes shape our future … students will leave and so will the taxpayers.” Brian Reyes, 8th grader at South Scranton Intermediate School. Scranton schools face major cuts, including laying off 89 teachers.