Trump and the GOP need to keep their hands off our communities

Trump and the GOP need to keep their hands off our communities
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Today President TrumpDonald John TrumpREAD: Transcript of James Comey's interview with House Republicans Klobuchar on 2020: ‘I do think you want voices from the Midwest’ Israel boycott fight roils Democrats in year-end spending debate MORE will deliver his first State of the Union address and shortly afterward, Congressional Republicans head to West Virginia for a three-day retreat to plot their legislative plans for the upcoming year. If their actions in 2017 are any guide, 2018 will be a continuation of their assault on the Latino community and our families.

Last year Congressional Republicans continued their attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But because of the tireless advocacy of groups and individuals across the country, they failed to roll back the ACA and it remains the law of the land.

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However, the Republican agenda remains the same and we have already seen renewed efforts to undermine the efficacy of the law, including lackluster enforcement, a shortening of the open enrollment period, and zeroed out funding for outreach.

 

Congressional Republicans have also signaled their intent to gut Medicaid, jeopardizing the health of 18 million Latinos, including 10.7 million Latino children, who rely on the program for health coverage.

In December, Republican leaders passed a new tax law — the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act — that will provide a permanent tax cut to the richest Americans and largest corporations, with the top 5 percent of Americans getting over half of the benefits, totaling over $161 million in tax breaks in 2019.

The poorest 20 percent will get a measly average tax cut of $100 each, but that would disappear after 2025, when almost all the other parts of the tax law expire. The new law was also another blow to the ACA, as it eliminated the individual mandate, which mean 10 million Americans will lose their health insurance.

The priorities of President Trump and his Republican allies are clear — from tearing health-care coverage away from millions of vulnerable Americans to transferring billions of tax breaks to the wealthy on the backs of the working and middle-class. And now, Republicans are preparing to weaken vital federal programs millions of Latinos depend on by gutting funding or erecting new barriers.

In 2015

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) lifted 1.3 million Latinos out of poverty.
  • Federal rental assistance helped 720,000 Latinos above the poverty line.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) lifted an estimated 630,000 Latinos out of poverty.

The Trump administration already issued new guidance permitting states to impose onerous work requirements on Medicaid recipients even though 6-in-10 adults enrolled in Medicaid are already working. Of those not working, 35 percent cited an illness or disability, 28 percent were taking care of their home or a family member, 18 percent were in school, 8 percent were looking for work, and 8 percent were retired. Congress has signaled they will follow suit.

In 2017, we learned that the Trump administration and the Republican Congress are all too happy to sacrifice the health and wellbeing of the Latino community to provide trillions in tax cuts to their wealthy friends and donors.

However, we also learned that our community’s voice is more important now than ever and we can fight back against their harmful attacks. Congress, #HandsOff our health care, #HandsOff our community, and #HandsOff our children’s futures.

Albert Jacquez is the Executive Director of the National Council of La Raza Action Fund.