Rep. John Lewis Responds to House Passage of Republican Tax Cut Bill
WASHINGTON — On Thursday, November 16, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the Republican tax cut bill, by a vote of 227-205.
As the only Georgian serving on the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Lewis worked to ensure that the public received unprecedented access to every step in the House process. Throughout the four-day markup, the office provided real-time updates on every amendment and every vote. The site also includes video and text of the Congressman’s speeches and amendments on this bill and links to non-partisan analysis of the House and Senate bills.
During the past few weeks, constituents began contacting the office in waves as they began to understand the impact of this unprecedented tax bill on their lives and communities. In order to ensure that their concerns were a part of the public record, Rep. Lewis was the only Member of the Ways and Means Committee to file additional dissenting views in opposition to the bill. He also introduced ten bills to direct the Federal government to report examples of what the missed opportunity of bipartisan, comprehensive tax reform would mean for Metro Atlanta residents.
After the passage of the House Republican tax cut bill and three days of the Senate Finance Committee’s consideration of the companion legislation, Rep. Lewis made the following comment:
"In November 1986, the people of Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District elected me to Congress; I remember like yesterday how honored, humbled, and inspired I was to serve and fight for the people. It was only one month after the completion of a years-long, thoughtful, bipartisan process to reform the United States tax code. When I took my oath of office 30 years ago, that historic effort was a model to me. I worked hard to earn an appointment to the House Ways and Means Committee, the oldest standing committee in this body. This is the Committee where Congress’ core constitutional authority lies and where great, historic legislative solutions were born.
"As I stood on the House Floor this morning, my heart broke. This tax bill breaches the sacred pact of public service – it hurts so many people and for what end? For the past two weeks, my office received constant, frantic calls from graduate students, local public servants, seniors, immigrants, veterans, faith leaders, charities, working and middle class families, and average people trying to make ends meet. They looked at the House bill and they saw so much meanness – so much spite. They held their breath hoping for sanity in the Senate, but when Senate Finance added yet another attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, my constituents franticly began losing all hope.
"It is as if the Republican Members of the 115th Congress forgot about real people and the true impact of our actions. This bill will decide whether people can keep a roof over their heads, heat in their homes, food on the table, care for their loved ones, continue their studies, and for some – it will mean the difference between life and death.
"In order to pay for these unprecedented tax cuts – the third in 16 years of war – Congress will trigger sequestration. Next year, congressional Republicans will be forced to cut practically every single program, which matters to average people.
"Unfortunately, this is not my opinion; the Congressional Budget Office reported this fact earlier this week. Yet, still House Republicans are determined to secure a quick political win that will devastate every corner of our country and generations yet unborn. Today is a sad and dark day, and I pray in my heart of hearts that common-sense and the will to put people before politics will prevail.”