WNPR

Connecticut Lawmakers Blast Federal Tax Bill As It Passes Through Congress

Dec 19, 2017

The U.S. Senate passed a GOP-sponsored tax bill on Tuesday evening, after the House of Representatives did the same earlier in the day.

The legislation goes back to the House on Wednesday for approval of minor changes.

Connecticut lawmakers, both in Congress and in the statehouse, criticized the bill for its tax cuts to wealthy Americans and the speed at which it passed through the legislative system.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty from Connecticut's 5th District, called the bill "a generational theft."

Opponents of the bill argue it will add a nearly $1.5 trillion budget deficit over the next decade. This has raised concerns that will lead to cutting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

One of those concerned is Rep. John Larson from Connecticut's 1st Congressional District. He called the bill "cruel" and "unfair."

Congressman Joe Courtney, who represents Connecticut's 2nd District, called the bill a "historic mistake."

"This bill will exacerbate our national deficit and sets up the rationale that Republicans will use to launch their long-anticipated attacks against Social Security and Medicare, which Speaker Paul Ryan has already brazenly promised to do," Courtney said in a statement.

The bill moved to the Senate for a vote Tuesday evening. Both of Connecticut's Democratic senators have spoken out against the bill. 

Senator Chris Murphy alluded to federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program, which has yet to be reauthorized. The program, known as Husky B in Connecticut, covers 17,000 children and teenagers in the state, and the program is expected to run out of money at the end of January.

Congress is short on time to fund the program though. After focusing on the tax bill, it must pass a spending bill to avoid another government shutdown before the holiday recess.