On Tuesday, the House passed the NEA-opposed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by a vote of 227-203, with every Democrat present and 12 Republicans voting no. Early Wednesday morning, the Senate followed suit with a party-line vote of 51-48 (Sen. McCain was absent). Last minute changes to comply with Senate rules necessitated a second “final” vote by the House later the same day.
“The hypocrisy at the heart of the tax bill is unmistakable,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “The bill largely eliminates state and local deductions for working people but keeps it for corporations. Millions of hard-working people will see their taxes increase. On top of it all, this bill will take away health care coverage for 13 million Americans and cause premiums to spike for millions more. In the end, this disastrous bill will push crushing debt and tax increases onto the middle class while Medicare, Medicaid, and education will take the brunt of the cuts.”
Bad as the tax bill is, it could have been even worse. Your advocacy — 173,000 emails and 13,000 phone calls to Congress — helped mitigate the damage by preserving the $250 tax deduction for school supplies educators buy with their own money, the tax deduction for interest on student loans, and the tax-free status of tuition waivers for graduate students. You also helped defeat efforts to impose an onerous new tax on state and local pension funds.