Filmed by Ford Fischer
Photos and Article by Alejandro Alvarz
While momentum behind the Republican tax plan mounts, Democratic members of Congress and progressive activists are pressing back against a fiscal policy they’re slamming down as a scam.
Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer joined Washington-area activists outside the House on Wednesday afternoon for a rally organized by the Tax March, the same grassroots organization behind the April 15 event that featured thousands coming out across the country calling on President Donald Trump to release his eagerly-awaited tax returns.
What followed was a three-hour, star-studded presentation arguing the failure of trickle-down economics, the unfair reign of the wealthy over the middle and poorer class, and the merits of a welfare-based system. Most speakers derided the new plan as favoring corporate rights over individuals and granting millions of dollars in giveaways to Trump’s rich associates, spawning the event’s title and chant of choice, “not one penny.”
“This is the biggest abomination I’ve seen in all my years in the Senate, and Americans will regret this bill for decades,” said Schumer, with the backdrop of a larger-than-life papier-mâché caricature of Trump himself. “This bill is like a dead fish: the more sunlight it gets, the more it stinks.”
The tax plan is the Trump administration’s latest attempt at following through on a campaign promise, not long after the conclusion of a drawn-out battle over healthcare reform. Though Congress has yet to flesh out specifics to reform a tax code spanning over 70,000 pages, a framework being pushed through the House proposes chances including tax cuts for businesses of any size and reduced taxes across the board, though it remains unclear how those breaks would be distributed between high, middle, and low earners. The White House and congressional Democrats will likely disagree on the economic implications of a proposed $1.5 trillion in tax cuts.
“We will not let the Republicans rig the system even more for the rich and powerful,” said Senator Warren, after being introduced by a woman dressed as Monopoly’s Rich Uncle Pennybags who said the Massachusetts Senator was one politician they “couldn’t buy out.” Warren led the crowd through several chants of “no corporate giveaways” and said the latest Republican reform effort, coupled with the defunct healthcare push, reveals “who the Republicans really worked for – their billionaire donors and giant corporations.”
Wednesday’s rally is the first significant protest in Washington against the tax plan, after House Republicans cleared the way for an overhaul with a vote on October 26. Organizers repeatedly promised marches, call-ins, and office visits in a call for public outcry against the proposal resembling the concerted effort the nation’s capital witnessed against the healthcare plan’s multiple iterations over the summer.
About 100 people attended the event, sponsored by a long billing of organizations including MoveOn, Indivisible, and the Center for American Progress.
See the full speeches:
Sheila Jackson Lee