Activists are stepping up their fight against the GOP tax bill, but some are wondering — is anyone listening?
The scene outside Tuesday’s Senate Budget Committee hearing was a familiar one. More than 30 activists, some in wheelchairs, were handcuffed and taken away by Capitol Police as they protested against the Republican tax bill.
During the fight over the health care bill this summer, disabled activists deployed mass acts of civil disobedience, camping out in Senate offices and getting arrested when they refused to leave. It made them a symbol of the resistance and helped lead to the health care bill’s defeat.
As Senate Republicans are on the verge of passing their tax overhaul bill, grassroots action against the Republican tax bill has been intensifying. In addition to Tuesday’s arrests, hundreds of protests have taken place across the country and thousands of phone calls are being made to Senate offices.
But even though activist groups are galvanized, some are wondering — is anyone listening?
Activists are struggling to draw the public’s attention to the tax bill in the same way they did during the health care fight. That’s in part because the bill is chock full of competing issues; besides closing in on major tax cuts for America’s wealthy and corporations, Republicans are also proposing to kill Obamacare’s individual mandate, open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas drilling, and the House GOP wants to dramatically raise taxes on America’s graduate students, causing thousands to reevaluate their plans to pursue higher education.
“The bill is a microcosm for the Trump era,” said Alex Taurel, deputy legislative director for the League of Conservation Voters, an environmental group. “Lots of outrageous things in the bill aren’t getting the kind of attention they ought to.”
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