The Republican tax bill is charging closer to passage as GOP Senators with previous concerns come back into the fold. The fate of the bill rests solely within the hands of Republican politicians. No Democrats are needed to turn this into law.
But the bill strikes fear into the lives of millions of Americans. Those people and actions are largely ignored or briefly mentioned in the final paragraphs of news coverage.
On Monday, we reviewed the perspectives between supporters and opponents of this tax bill effort. On Tuesday, Slate incorporated the presence of protesters into its lede. Read:
As members of the Senate Budget Committee were arriving for a key vote on the Republican tax reform bill on Tuesday, they were greeted by a familiar passel of protesters, chanting, “Shame!” and “Kill the bill, don’t kill us!” The protesters went so far as to talk directly into several of the senators’ ears as they tried to do hallway television interviews. Some senators ignored the protesters. Others didn’t.
“Hey, can you get this lady out of my ear so I can do an interview?” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham snapped to a cop, who obeyed.
And that’s how you silence activists. Coverage will report Graham’s talking points, but won’t likely mention all the protesters in their lede (aside from Slate).
Media coverage of the bill has focused on Republican negotiators because those are the people who will determine its success or failure. Press resources have been concentrated on Washington DC, giving little perspective on middle class Americans about to see their country’s revenues overhauled. Here is a representation of how the bill is regarded by real people:
Toms River, New Jersey: Protesters go “caroling” outside Representative Tom MacArthur’s office.
Protesters say: “This is more than just a blatant scam on the people to transfer wealth to the very rich,” organizers said. “It is now also a full assault on health care.”
Franklin, Tennessee: Protests in town square
Protesters say: “We don’t want billionaires to be benefiting,” [Franklin resident Karla Barde] said. “I don’t want to see cuts to Medicare, social security and schools specifically. There’s a great disparity of wealth in this nation. We are going to be judged by how we take care of the less fortunate among us. I feel that corporations aren’t people and wealth corporations will benefit from this.”
Kalispell, Montana: Protests on Main Street
Protesters say: “Being focused at this time is a good idea because we’re hoping that it will not only raise awareness but get other people in the community willing to write letters and call their representatives and voice their opinions related to the tax,” [Organizer Betty Kuffel] said.
Marquette, Michigan: 50 protesters in downtown Marquette
Protesters say: “This is a protest of the proposed Republican tax plan that will heavily benefit high income taxpayers on the backs of the middle class,” said Susan Uballe of Marquette in a press release. “We have to make sure those in office know we will hold them accountable for crippling our working class communities.”
Columbus, Ohio: Students organize a rally against the tax effort
Protesters say: “It’s really going to limit access [to attending universities]. If you don’t already have money, you’re really going to have a hard time paying for graduate school and supporting yourself,” [OSU student Jenna Freudenburg] said.
Protesters say: “In PA, 713,000 middle and working class Americans will get a tax hike under the House [plan]” Organizing for Action says.
Austin, Texas: Protesters perform in streets
Tampa Bay, Florida: Protesters march to a downtown bank
Protesters say: “I want to see tax fairness,” said Organize Now’s Debbie King. “I want to make sure that we don’t take tax breaks for corporations and pay for them with cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and other programs that regular everyday people rely on.”
What the protesters say: “Don’t kill us. Kill the bill.”
There are many protests that are not covered by the press. They depend on social media for exposure. If you know of an event to share, feel free to contact us.
What can I do?
On Monday we outlined a number of efforts going on across the country. Most of these entail phone calls and marches. Visiting these resources will connect you with local events. As of now, there is no pro-tax bill grassroots effort.