#GOPTaxScam Targets Disabled Veterans

The Republican Tax Scam will have serious, even devastating, consequences for the nearly 20% of Americans who have disabilities-- greater tax burdens and decreased opportunities.

As Robyn Powell explained last week to Rewire readers,

"People with disabilities already have massive expenses and far less income, on average, than their non-disabled counterparts. Many of their medical necessities-- such as long-term care and certain wheelchairs-- are not covered by some insurance plans, including Medicare, and can cost an individual tens of thousands of dollars. These services are not just about one’s health; having access to a power wheelchair or in-home care can be the difference between living in an institution or a private residence. Right now, taxpayers may deduct out-of-pocket medical expenses if they exceed 10% of their adjusted gross income. Notably, 8.8 million people-- primarily people with disabilities and seniors, as well as their caregivers-- benefited from this important deduction last year." But to make life a tad more bearable for overburdened private jet owners, Trump's and Ryan's Tax Scam eliminates the out-of-pocket medical expenses deduction.

Los Angeles area Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA), a veteran and an Air Force colonel is the West Coast regional Vice Chair for the DCCC. He told us that "The GOP tax scam will be a disaster for our veterans and our country. It is particularly disgusting that Republicans have proposed repealing tax credits to hire disabled veterans while at the same time giving billionaires and corporations a huge tax cut. Tax policy is ultimately a statement of priorities-- and Republicans like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are showing us what their priorities are, and it isn't our veterans." 

And Lieu is exactly right: the Tax Scam falls especially hard on disabled veterans. Blue America talked to some of the progressive veterans running for Congress, in light of the passage of the Tax Scam in both Houses. 

I wonder if all those self professed Christians in the Republican Party ever think of Jesus' admonition: “That what you do to the least of these, so do you do to me." This morning, Randy Bryce texted us that he had been going over parts of the GOP Tax Scam and one of the parts that infuriated him was how it penalizes veterans wounded in the line of duty. "After serving in the Army I returned home to Southeast Wisconsin," he told us. I saw fellow veterans without homes and I worked hand in hand-- through my union and with the Democratic Party and state government to bring needed assistance their way. That is the best of America and is the America I was proud to protect and serve. Targeting disabled veterans who served their country is especially cruel and unAmerican. Seeing this tax scam try and rip needed services away from my brothers and sisters who served sickens me. We didn't serve to protect a billionaires ability to fly a Learjet on the cheap. We served to protect the best of our American values. These frauds are shameful, and we will repeal and replace their leader in the house, Paul Ryan-- a man who appears to truly enjoy hurting those in need in order to see his billionaire buddies smile."

Doug Applegate, the progressive former Marine colonel running for a a San Diego/Orange County seat held by Darrell Issa: "Once again Veterans get the short end of the stick. The problem lies with the decline of Vets sitting in Congress and voting Veterans’ interests. Don’t just “thank a Vet for their service”; that doesn’t come close to paying the bill. We need to thank Veterans with our votes!"

As Pennsylvania's Tom Prigg put it: "We fought for our country. Some returned home wounded. All we want is the ability to live a good, normal, productive life. To take care of our families. But now Keith Rothfus and the Republican’s new  tax bill will eliminate the Disabled Access Credit and the Work Opportunity Credit  tax credits for businesses who hire disabled people like our vets. This heartless bill not only takes away our wounded warrior’s ability to work and take care of their families, it also takes away their dignity by undermining their livelihood. Keith Rothfus, a congressman who never misses an opportunity for a veteran photo-op, supports this bill that will hurt tens-of-thousands of American Veterans and their families."

Tom's concerns were echoed by all the veteran candidates we talked with. James Thompson is running for the Wichita, Kansas seat, held by Ryan rubberstamp Ron Estes. "Ron Estes is a hypocrite," he told us. "He gives lip service to supporting veterans by showing up to some high profile events to get free media coverage. Yet when the rubber meets the road, and he is given a real opportunity to help veterans, especially disabled veterans, he didn't have their six. He voted in favor of the Republicans’ Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which will give massive tax breaks to the wealthiest of Americans, like the KOCH brothers here in my district. This is not tax reform, it is tax robbery paid for by robbing disabled veterans to pay the privileged princes of Wall Street. Ron Estes and his ilk, at the direction of these modern day robber barons, removed the Disabled Access Credit and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Simply put, the Work Opportunity Credit incentivizes companies to hire disabled veterans, while the Disabled Access Credit allows them to actually hire disabled vets by making it possible for those same companies to afford special accommodations like ramps. Ending these two credits, harms veterans. PERIOD. Veterans need representatives to watch their six, not use it as an opportunity to stab them in the back. I promise every veteran out there, regardless of party, I will have your six, and will lead the way in making sure our countries heroes are taken care of when they go to war and when they return from it. I hope everyone will call and encourage their Senators and Representatives to vote FOR VETERANS by voting no on the #GOPTaxScam."

Jared Golden is the Maine House whip. He told us that: "Bruce Poliquin and his corporate allies in Washington are intent on funding their tax cuts on the backs of our children and disabled veterans. By adding over $1 trillion to the debt, future generations will be on the hook for tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. Where the tax plan does make up costs are on the backs of the disabled including our wounded fighting men and women. These tax credits are designed to create an incentive for businesses to hire disabled veterans and others with disabilities, I find it morally reprehensible that these laudable and effective tax credits are where Rep. Poliquin and the Republicans in Congress want to find 'savings' so that millionaires and billionaires can buy an extra yacht, or a corporation can move more jobs overseas." 

Please consider helping these military vets with their congressional campaigns by contributing what you can at this link.



No Trump.NoKKK.NoFascist USA!--Win A Signed Green Day Guitar/Help Randy Bryce Beat Paul Ryan

The American Music Awards aren't supposed to be "political," so when Green Day tweaked the words on their new song, "Bang Bang," adding "No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA," it may have caught some viewers by surprise. But not iron worker, union organizer and Wisconsin Green Day fan Randy Bryce. "As usual, Billy Joe Armstrong was just a little ahead of his time," he told us when we talked about the upcoming Blue America Green Day guitar giveaway. "I love bands that express their angst in music."

When residents know who Randy Bryce is and who Paul Ryan is, Randy wins and Ryan loses. The contributions at this stage of the campaign are mostly to make sure voters do know who Randy Bryce is. And you can make a contribution-- and make yourself eligible to win the Green Day guitar-- right here.

In tribute to Billie's spirit, I took a sleek black Stratocaster guitar (a Fender Squire Bullet Strat) that Green Day autographed for me while I was president of their label and decided to use it to raise some campaign funds for Randy's campaign for the congressional seat Paul Ryan is operating out of. You can see a photo of the guitar, of Randy holding the guitar, on the right in the contribution box.

Everyone who contributes here-- any amount-- to Randy Bryce's campaign has an equal chance to get the "thank you" guitar from Blue America. We'll pick one person at random. If you give $1,000 you get a chance to get the guitar. If you give $10 you get the same chance to get the guitar. (Yes, we're Democrats, not Republicans; that's how we roll. In fact, if you don't have the cash to give and you want the guitar, just send a note to us at Blue America, P.O. Box 27201. Los Angeles, CA 90027 and you'll have the same chance as everyone else.)

Many contributors want to know if their contribution will help. There are no guarantees of course, that Randy will win, but polling shows that the residents of WI-01 want a new Congressmember; Ryan's reelect numbers are only 44%.

When residents know who Randy Bryce is and who Paul Ryan is, Randy wins and Ryan loses. The contributions at this stage of the campaign are mostly to make sure voters do know who Randy Bryce is. And you can make a contribution-- and make yourself eligible to win the Green Day guitar-- right here.

Meanwhile, Connor Touhey, in yesterday's Badger Herald points out that, "in large part due to gerrymandering, Speaker Ryan’s margin of victory in the past two elections was massive. His ability to garner national attention as Speaker of the House makes him popular in the state, especially since many see him as a 'moderate' willing to try and work with Democrats to solve problems. On top of that, any perceived threat to such a big name in the Republican Party will undoubtedly bring in millions of dollars in political contributions. Paul Ryan should be unbeatable, but he isn’t. Despite his position of power, the Speaker’s inability to connect with his own constituents makes him vulnerable.

As a U.S. Representative, Paul Ryan’s first responsibility is to answer to the constituents of his district. I am one of those constituents, and trust me, he has no interest in listening to what any of us have to say.

Seriously, try calling his office. Ten times out of ten you’ll sent to voicemail. Ryan recently held his first “Town Hall” meeting back in Wisconsin, except it wasn’t a public event. Those who wanted to attend had to apply, ultimately leaving the decision on attendees in the hands of CNN. It’s antics like these that leave Speaker Ryan so vulnerable.

Being unable to even speak to those you have elected will irritate just about any constituency, but in a place like Wisconsin, where access to our officials is especially important to us, it’s disgraceful. Add in a stagnant legislative agenda despite a national mandate for Republicans, the farce that is the Foxconn deal and his continuing role as the president’s court jester, and Speaker Ryan’s next race might be the closest of his career, if not the upset many are already predicting. All Democrats need now is a quality candidate to speed up this race.

The thing is, Randy Bryce is a really good candidate. As an army veteran, cancer survivor and iron worker, Bryce represents the kind of person many believe Paul Ryan continues to screw over in Washington. His life experiences give him firsthand knowledge of the military, our healthcare system and everyday life as a blue collar worker from a personal perspective.

Consider that Bryce is the ultimate picture of modern rustbelt American, and he may have a fighting chance. No, seriously, go look at a picture of the guy. Bryce often has this steely expression on his face, with a fantastic mustache, hardhat and work clothes to back it up.

Thanks for always doing what you can to make this a better world,

--Howie, for the entire Blue America team

You can contribute to our Senate candidates on this page, our House candidates on this page, and to the brave candidates who are challenging a Blue Dog on this page.



We Are Replacing Ryan This Cycle

This is an important week for the resistance. As you know, Tuesday is Election Day in GA-06, where a victory for Democrat Jon Ossoff will signal—- in the mass media— the beginning of the end for the Trump agenda.

If Ossoff wins in this “safe” deep red Georgia suburban district, Republican congressmen are likely to abandon Trump and Ryan with increasing impunity, jeopardizing passage of a generally hated series of legislative proposals that would mark the biggest transfer of wealth from the bottom to the top in American history. At this point, Ossoff is ahead. At this point, he doesn’t need any more money but your prayers and good thoughts are welcome— and if you know anyone in the area, a last minute phone call can do wonders.

But wait- please don’t put your wallet away just yet.

On the day before GA-06 ‘upgrades’ their representative, something really big is happening in Wisconsin. ‘Woke’ iron worker and union activist Randy Bryce, (@IronStache on Twitter) is officially declaring his candidacy for our country’s most important race this cycle:

WI-01 in southeast Wisconsin. That’s the swing district seat for which Paul Ryan has been granted an annual ‘free pass to reelection’ by the DCCC. That ends tomorrow— regardless of the DCCC and their bullshit.

Lucky for us, under Trump and Ryan no Republican is safe—- especially not in a swing district Obama won in his first time out. Recent polling shows that 51% of the voters in the district think it’s time for a change in representation. We suspect it’s even higher outside of WI-01. That’s why we’re helping Randy raise the funds he’ll need to reach every voter in the district to discuss the impact that ‘Lyin’ Ryan’s Austerity Plan has on constituents’ daily lives. It’s time to make Paul Ryan accountable for the direction he’s taken the Republican Party.

Hillary was the wrong candidate with the wrong message for this very blue collar district. Trump beat her by 10 points. Bernie won WI-01—- by a lot. And Randy, an elected Bernie convention delegate, is exactly the right candidate with the right message. He can make history—- regardless of what kind of shady deal Nancy Pelosi has cut, or the DCCC’s determination to ignore Wisconsin and allow Ryan another free pass.

A couple of days ago, Randy told us that “with Trump elected, what took place in Wisconsin [the Scott Walker era] has now been exported to the federal level. The people of Wisconsin have already seen how a single election can completely change an entire state. Americans are now seeing on a grand level what we saw on a smaller one. Gerrymandering and voter suppression are keeping people with bad ideas in office. Representatives are choosing their voters instead of the way it should be-- us choosing them. The glowing, fiery eye of Mordor has been relocated from Madison, Wisconsin to Washington D.C.”

It’s been ugly (ugly being a kind word).

Aside from the years spent in the U.S. Army, I’ve spent my entire life in southeastern Wisconsin. When Paul Ryan was first elected, even though we disagreed on just about every topic, he at least could be found. He came across as kind of a nice guy.

Then he came up with some horrible idea that we referred to as “Ryan Coupon Care.” He talked about “Takers vs. Makers.” He called African American males “lazy.” Something happened to Paul Ryan that was not good. He completely changed (aside from having the same bad ideas).

He forced his way into a soup kitchen for a photo op and began washing clean dishes. He refused to discuss jobs during a Labor Day parade.

He did however, get to be really talented in a few areas.

He could raise some serious cash. Lately, he has attended over 50 fund raisers raking in all kinds of cash. In that time, he has not held one town hall. He’s been so brazen about ignoring the constituency that news outlets cite “Breaking News” when he is seen in the area.

…We have so many opportunities ahead of us if we only refuse to give in to the fear that is being thrust onto us with the sole purpose of division.

All that working people want is to be heard. We want decisions made that will help us grow into better people. That doesn’t happen when we look for a scapegoat.

It doesn’t take a law degree or doctorate to be able to listen.

This country is already great. It is filled with great people of every shape and shade of humanity. The United States has more than enough for all of us. I don’t have a problem with rich or poor people. I have a problem with greedy people. All that we need to do is to realize that when we light someone else’s torch with our own, our torch doesn’t lose it’s light. It’s makes things brighter for all of us.

Paul Ryan exemplifies what is wrong with our Federal Government.

It’s well past time to repeal and replace the problem.

It’s time to have someone who WANTS to hear concerns and be part of the solution making decisions for us.

Our campaign is a joint effort that will be made up of all kinds of people from all walks of life who want to put the “united” back into “United States.”

Join us.

Blue America has already. We officially endorsed Randy Bryce for Congress today and we hope you’ll help us raise the money he needs for his campaign. It’s going to be a long haul, but Randy is a fighter, and the team he’s been meticulously putting together for the last several months are up for the challenge. Please consider contributing what you can here.




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