Make Them Hear You! is a weekly feature on KGNU, produced by Chris Mohr, letting listeners know how they can have their voices heard on issues up before Congress. You can hear it Wednesday mornings at 8.20am during the Morning Magazine.
Thanks to the actions of millions of Americans, the final tax bill passing through Congress has softened a few of its worst aspects. Graduate students won’t have to pay taxes on tuition-free education. Low-income parents with children won’t lose quite as much of their childcare tax credit. But the final bill will still increase the national debt by $1.5 trillion, and over 60% of the tax cuts will still go to the top 1%. There’s still a permanent tax cut for corporations and a temporary tax cut for individuals. The estate tax exemption has been doubled, so a married couple’s estate is not taxed unless it is greater than 22 million dollars. You can deduct just $10,000 in state, local and property taxes. The middle-class mortgage interest deduction has been reduced. The elimination of the Obamacare mandate will mean 13 million more people will no longer have health insurance. Pass-through companies like the ones Donald Trump owns get giant tax breaks. The Alternative Minimum tax is being eliminated so that lawyers for wealthy corporations can find loopholes to lower corporate taxes in some cases to zero. We conclude that the donor class had more influence than the 62% of Americans who oppose the tax bill.
In the meantime, Senator Cory Gardner is working across the aisle with Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillebrand to overhaul how Congress deals with allegations of sexual harassment. Gardner had recently taken a courageous stand against Senate candidate Roy Moore, publicly saying he should be expelled if he were to be elected by Alabamans. At the same time, Donald Trump supported Moore and actively campaigned for the accused pedophile. And a year ago last October, shortly after the release of the Billie Bush tapes where Donald Trump boasted of sexually assaulting women, Gardner temporarily withdrew his support of then-candidate Trump, saying Trump should step aside. While Gardner worked with Gillebrand to introduce the Congressional Harassment Reform Act, Trump went on the attack against Gillebrand personally, saying she would do anything for campaign money.
This Reform Act will eliminate forced mediation and allow victims to speak publicly about their cases. Interns, congressional fellows and others would be covered under the Act, and any Congressperson who settles a case will have to pay out of his own pocket. As Gardner said, “No one should be forced to work in an environment where they are made to feel uncomfortable or intimidated. Let me be extremely clear: sexual harassment and workplace misconduct has no place in America, and certainly has no place in the United States Congress.”
If you have an opinion on the Gardner/Gillebrand Congressional Harassment Reform Act and similar bills being considered in the House, you can contact your Senators and Congressperson and share your concerns.