PENN YAN—Democratic Congressional Nominee Tracy Mitrano (NY-23) spoke today on her opponent’s voting record, saying that Congressman Tom Reed has consistently supported measures that benefitted wealthy corporations while harming the interests of his own constituents.
“On affordable healthcare, on infrastructure, on Social Security, on farming, Representative Reed has not represented the people of this district,” Mitrano said. “When he speaks to people at his town halls, he gives the impression that his constituents’ voices matter to him. His voting record tells a very different story.”
Last December, Reed voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, giving sweeping, permanent tax cuts to businesses and the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. The corporate tax rate was permanently decreased from 35 percent to 21 percent, making big business the largest beneficiary of the bill in the long term. While Republicans claimed the bill would benefit the whole economy, middle and working-class Americans have not seen real gains. As The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month, a survey of 1,500 companies conducted by the consulting firm Mercer LLC found that only 4 percent of the companies surveyed were planning on putting the extra money toward bigger paychecks for workers.
Analysis done by the Tax Policy Center found that individuals in the bottom 20 percent of income earners (those who make less than $25,000 per year) were expected to receive a tax cut of just $40, on average, and it is not even permanent. As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Reed played a significant role in the creation and promotion in the Tax Cut Bill. His role belies the fact that his constituents are mostly middle-income earners who were largely unaided by the legislation.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has had a hugely detrimental impact on the deficit. Republicans predicted their tax cuts would “pay for themselves,” despite projections by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office indicating that the bill would increase the debt by $1.9 trillion within ten years.
“As expected,” Mitrano said, “those tax cuts have not paid for themselves. In fact, this week, the Treasury Department announced that the deficit has already increased to $779 billion, an increase of 17 percent from the last fiscal year. And how do the Republicans plan to pay for it? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell answered that question himself when he announced this week that Republicans would be cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid if they remained in office after November. Republicans like to call those entitlements programs, but the fact is, the people of NY-23 have been paying into those programs their whole lives. It’s their money.”
A fiscal liberal on tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, Reed has been notably more stingy on Congressional legislation that would increase government spending on programs and services that would benefit and empower working people. He supported the American Health Care Act, a bill that would have made drastic cuts to Medicaid, slashing funding by $880 billion over the next decade. The AHCA also would have allowed states to “opt out” of Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions, giving insurance companies more leeway to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma.
“Again, Mitch McConnell told us the way forward for Republicans if people like Congressman Reed are allowed to remain in office: the GOP will try for another repeal of the ACA without a sufficient replacement or plan for people with pre-existing conditions,” Mitrano said.
Reed also voted against a bipartisan omnibus spending bill passed in March of this year that would have benefited our district. The deal increased spending on a number of key domestic programs, including funding for infrastructure, rural broadband expansion, education, and programs to combat the opioid epidemic. Even Reed’s Republican colleague, Rep. Claudia Tenney of NY-22, supported the legislation on the basis of the “vital services” it would provide to her district. Reed, however, opposed the bill, stating that it would increase the deficit too much—a factor that apparently failed to sway him on his tax giveaway.
“From the way that Congressman Reed has voted, you would think he represented a district of millionaires,” Mitrano said. “His votes do not reflect the lived realities of this district, which is made up primarily of working families—farmers, laborers, teachers, entrepreneurs, educators, and small business owners. The people of this district do not believe that government should do everything for them, and neither do I. But we do think that healthcare should be affordable and accessible. We think that infrastructure should be well-maintained. We think that people who have worked diligently their whole lives are owed the Social Security and Medicare that was promised to them. Reed has shown that he is unwilling to fight for these protections. I will.”