Herrera Beutler sticks with tax 
scheme in telephone ‘town hall’

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler defended Republican tax legislation during a telephone call with constituents last week.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — If the GOP’s tax overhaul is approved, Southwest Washington workers will have more money in their pockets next year, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler said during a call-in town hall meeting on Dec. 12.

As of press time, both the U.S. House and Senate were expected to pass the tax cuts on Tuesday. If the legislation survives Democratic challenges, the sweeping changes will mark the first legislative win for the Trump administration. President Donald Trump could sign the bill as early as Wednesday. It would slash the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent. The rate for the country’s top earners would be reduced from 39.6 to 37 percent. However, according the bipartisan congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, by 2027 the new rules would raise taxes for workers earning $75,000 a year or less.

Herrera Beutler acknowledged the president’s plan isn’t perfect.

“But on the whole, I’m really believing that these tax cuts are going to be good for families, good for workers and they’re going to benefit the people in our region,” she said.

The representative told constituents in Southwest Washington’s congressional District 3 the reductions would boost the economy by giving people more money to spend and bringing about 20,000 jobs into the state.

Herrera Beutler took half a dozen questions during the hour-long call last week. A woman from Vancouver asked whether lawmakers are “kicking the can down the road,” leaving more debt for future generations.

Trump’s tax cuts are expected to add about $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit during the next 10 years.

Other callers brought up concerns that popular benefit programs could land on the chopping block in the wake of the cuts.

Herrera Beutler said she plans to focus on finding ways to grow the economy to help balance the federal budget instead. The congresswoman said she would not support slashing programs, such as Medicare and Social Security, to make up for lost revenue.

Herrera Beutler talked about her work to save people money and expand affordable access to healthcare, too. She’s trying to stop Oregon from what she called “tolling for tolling’s sake” along I-5 and I-205.

Herrera Beutler said she would not give up on reducing wait times for healthcare through the Veterans Administration, either.

She also wants to improve the market for private medical insurance. Herrera Beutler told callers she’s working to help insurance companies lower premiums and provide better options for coverage.

“For me, this is a fight or die issue,” she said. “I’m going to keep fighting until we get this right.”

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