Progressive Breakfast for December 8

Morning Message

We Have A Housing Emergency. Here’s How We Face It

Homelessness is on the rise, and the GOP's tax and budget plans will make the housing crisis worse. A People's Hearing on Housing in Washington, DC with grassroots leaders from across the country and Congress members highlighted these problems and solutions that match their scale.

Congress Averts Shutdown For Two Weeks

Congress just averted a government shutdown, for now. Fortune: “The U.S. Congress moved rapidly on Thursday to send President Donald Trump a short-term funding bill to avert a government shutdown this weekend, leaving fights over budget priorities and a range of other controversial issues for the coming weeks. The House of Representatives, working against a Friday midnight deadline, approved legislation in a 235-193 vote to fund a wide range of federal programs through Dec. 22. The Senate followed up by approving the bill 81-14. The White House has said Trump will sign it into law. The measure creates more time for a reckoning between Republicans and Democrats about budget differences, which Trump discussed in a meeting with leading lawmakers at the White House earlier in the day.”

GOP Promises To Starve Obamacare

House leaders say no funding for ObamaCare subsidies in spending bill. The Hill: “House leaders have promised conservatives that the next spending bill will not contain funding for ObamaCare cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments, Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) said Thursday. ‘The three things that we’ve been told are not gonna happen as part of our agreement: no CSRs, no DACA, no debt limit,’ Walker said, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program… The cost-sharing subsidies have been a flashpoint during negotiations over both the GOP tax bill and the bill to continue funding the government beyond Dec. 22. In exchange for her vote on the tax bill, Senate GOP leaders promised Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) they would include bipartisan legislation to fund the cost-sharing reductions as part of the spending bill. The House and Senate are in the process of working out the differences between the tax bills passed by their respective chambers. A final version could pass as soon as next week.”

End Of Estate Tax Will Fuel Inequality

GOP Lawmakers Eye Cutting Estate Tax. NPR: “Republicans in Congress are on the verge of fulfilling their longtime dream of eliminating the federal estate tax, and they could do it in a way that is even more generous to heirs than previous repeal efforts. Bills passed by the Senate and the House recently would reduce or scrap the taxes heirs now pay on estates larger than $5.5 million… Ordinarily, people have to pay taxes when they sell off assets that have appreciated in value, like shares of stock or real estate. But heirs are exempted from that tax. That’s because they already pay the estate tax. The bills approved by Congress recently would eliminate or reduce the estate tax, while leaving the exemption in place. In other words, you would be able to pass on assets that have gained a lot in value — like those Apple shares you bought years ago — and, unlike everyone else, your heirs never have to pay tax on the appreciation.”

$300 Billion Error In GOP Tax Bill

Senate Republicans made a $300 billion mistake in their tax bill. New York Magazine: “The GOP had originally intended to abolish the corporate AMT (alternative minimum tax). But last Friday, McConnell made a series of expensive, last-minute changes the bill and found himself in desperate need of offsetting revenue. So, Senate Republicans decided to put the AMT back into the legislation – but forgot to lower the AMT after doing so. This was a big problem. The Senate bill brings the normal corporate rate down to 20 percent — while leaving the alternative minimum rate at … 20 percent. The legislation would still allow corporations to claim a wide variety of tax credits and deductions — it just renders them completely worthless.”

More from OurFuture.org:

Why We’ve Got To Fight For Housing. Emmanuel Cleaver: “We’ve got to fight for housing. Right now, in the United States of America, we’ve got somewhere in the neighborhood of 50,000 people sleeping on the streets every single night. We’ve got to allow our voices to rise, we’ve got to stand up, we cannot be quiet, don’t let anybody tell us to be quiet, we will be noisy until a change comes.”

The People’s Hearing on the Housing Crisis. Tim Wilkins: “The nation’s housing crisis has reached emergency levels. Instead of meeting the challenges of the crisis, elected officials are supporting a budget and tax scam that will only aggravate the situation for low-income and working-class people and communities of color. More than 100 people from cities, suburbs and rural communities around the country traveled to Washington, D.C. to tell Congress members in person about the terrifying struggle they face trying to afford housing.”