Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

Representing the 18th District of TEXAS

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Joined by Texas Democrats, Unveils New ‘For The People’ Report on Impact of GOP Agenda on the Health & Economic Security of Texans

Oct 22, 2018
Press Release

PRESS STATEMENT HEADER

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              Contact: Robin K. Chand

October 22, 2018                                                                              202-225-3816

Press Statement

 

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Joined by Texas Democrats, Unveils New ‘For The People’ Report on Impact of GOP Agenda on the Health & Economic Security of Texans

Jackson Lee: “Americans all across our nation realize that it is time for A Better Deal, and it is time for leadership by Democrats.  Democrats are For The People, and are concerned about increasing pay and creating opportunity by rebuilding America, lowering the cost of health care for all Americans, and cleaning up the culture of corruption that has plagued Trump’s Washington.”

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations, and senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary, Homeland Security, and Budget, released this statement following a conference call with reporters on the issuance of a new “For the People” report on the impact of the GOP Agenda on the health and economic security of Texans:

 

“In almost two years of unified GOP control in Washington, D.C., the economic and health security of most hard working Americans in our country has diminished, due to the overt actions of the Republicans in Congress, and their leader in the White House.  In any number of areas—the GOP Tax Scam, healthcare, wages or infrastructure—Republicans in Congress have fallen short of their campaign rhetoric.  With the midterm elections just a fortnight away, with some saying it is the most important midterm elections of their lifetimes if not the life of the republic, it is clear that GOP policies have set back the progress made under the leadership of President Barack Obama.  Now, with the first opportunity to provide a check on this president, Democrats are offering A Better Deal For the People.

 

“First and foremost, the GOP’s effort to update our nation’s tax laws has been one large tax scam.  In selling Republicans’ tax bill, President Trump claimed it “would likely give the typical American household a $4,000 pay raise.”  Yet, when the Republicans in Congress rammed the GOP Tax Scam into law, the damage that passage would bring was known.  For example, it was known then that passing this tax bill would result in a situation where the overwhelming percentage of benefits flowed to the richest 1%.  Democrats exposed the scam and warned that it would divert resources from critical programs like Medicare and Medicaid.  Democrats also warned that the GOP tax scam would explode the deficit and the national debt.  Finally, those opposed to the tax scam indicated that the GOP would use the ballooning deficit and debt as pretext to tear apart the country’s social safety net, starting with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. 

 

“Sadly, in practice, those fears have been realized.  The benefits of the new tax bill were designed to flow overwhelmingly to big corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent:  1,603,000 Texas taxpayers will see NO tax benefit or will suffer a tax hike by 2019, while the wealthiest 1 percent of Texans received a total of more than $10.1 million5,572,400 Texas taxpayers will see NO tax benefit or will suffer a tax hike by 2027.  In reality the GOP tax scam for the rich added $2 trillion to the national debt, and included giveaways for large pharmaceutical companies.  For example, the tax scam handed Big Pharma massive tax breaks that have funded more than $50 billion in stock buybacks to enrich top investors and executives. 

 

“The result has been no different when considering healthcare.  When he was campaigning for office, then-candidate Trump lamented passage of the Affordable Care Act—which he derisively called ‘Obamacare.’  Moreover, President Trump promised that under Republican leadership, health care would be “a lot less expensive for you…” and “I’m going to take such good care of women’s health care issues you won’t even believe it.”  Yet, he and his Republican cohorts campaigned, for many years over many election cycles, that they would repeal and replace the landmark legislation championed by President Barack Obama.  When they were given the levers of power, the Republicans in Congress tried to make good on this process by trying many times to repeal this legislation, and in fact once came within striking distance of doing so.  If House Republicans had succeeded in having the American Health Care Act, their House-passed Trumpcare legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, signed into law: 2,516,300 Texans would have lost coverage under Trumpcare by 2026; more than 1.8 million Texans with Medicaid would have lost coverage; 71,600 veterans in Texas would have lost their Medicaid coverage; out-of-pocket health costs for older Texans could have increased by as much as $6,787 a year by 2020, due to Trumpcare imposing what the AARP calls an “age tax” by allowing insurers to charge people over age 50 five times more; and, the negative economic impact of the American Health Care Act would have caused 62,143 Texans to lose their jobs by 2022.

 

“Not succeeding through legislation which would outright destroy the bill, Republicans have instead focused on a lawsuit to attack the Affordable Care Act.  Under Republicans’ lawsuit to strike down the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions: 11,579,100 Texans with pre-existing conditions could lose key protections; nearly 6.1 million women and girls in Texas with pre-existing conditions would lose protections; more than 534,000 pregnant Texas women risk losing their coverage; and, insurers could deny coverage outright or impose massive surcharges on people with pre-existing conditions, for ailments such as asthma, diabetes, pregnancy, rheumatoid arthritis, and other serious ailments. 

“The story is no different with respect to wages.  In 2016 in Austin, then-candidate Trump told the crowd: “Let me also tell you what you have to gain: more jobs, higher wages…We are going to turn it all around. Success must be created for everyone, and available to everyone.”  Yet, the reality has not matched the rhetoric.  Since January 2017, real average hourly wages in Texas have fallen 1.4 percent.  Inflation has jumped 1.7% in the South from September 2017 to September 2018.  As of September 2018, motor fuel costs are up 3.7% from a year prior in the region. Additionally, food prices continue to rise, with the price of a dozen eggs up more than 4% over the past year.  Moreover, American workers face new obstacles under Republican control of Washington: as of October 2, 2018, there have been 36,592 WARN notices of plant closings and mass layoffs in Texas since President Trump took office; more than $10.5 billion in state exports are threatened by China’s retaliatory tariffs in Texas, including nearly $1.7 billion in liquefied propane; and, 93% of Texas exporters are small and medium-sized businesses.  Left in the wake are American Families and millennials with huge loan burdens, with the outstanding student loan debt balance in Texas totaling more than $94.5 billion; average student debt for students at public and private 4-year institutions in Texas: $26,824; and the share of students at public and private 4-year institutions in Texas with debt: 55%.

“And, predictably, the President’s and the Republicans’ reality on wages has matched the indifference they show the American people in other areas and again, the rhetoric and the reality have not matched.  President Trump promised Americans “the biggest and boldest infrastructure investment in American history.” At a campaign rally in Dallas in September 2015, he said: “As a real estate guy, the thing I do best is build. Hey, wouldn’t it be good to have the president that knows how to build? Like I’m so good at it. Infrastructures, roads, airports, highways, I could do it for a fraction.”  In the nineteen months since he took office, the president and the GOP have refused to make good on the promise to rebuild America’s broken infrastructure.  This hurt Texas families, endangers public health and weakens Texas’ ability to compete in the global marketplace.  It is not because there is no need: with approximately 313,600 total centerline miles of roadway facilities, Texas has more roadway lane miles than any other state. Driving on roads in need of repair in Texas costs each driver $506 per year; 1,212 dams are considered to be high-hazard potential and 900 bridges are rated structurally deficient; drinking water infrastructure needs in Texas are estimated to be $33.9 billion over the next 20 years; and wastewater infrastructure needs are estimated to be more than $11.8 billion over the next 20 years.  Due to this, Texas recently received a C-minus grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

 

“Americans all over the country are watching, and realize it is time for A Better deal, and it is time for leadership by Democrats.  Democrats are For The People, and are concerned about increasing pay and creating opportunity by rebuilding America, lowering the cost of health care for all Americans, and cleaning up the culture of corruption that has plagued Trump’s Washington.”

 

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Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is a Democrat from Texas’s 18th Congressional District. She is a senior member of the House Committees on Judiciary and Homeland Security and is a Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.