Politics & Government

Protestors take to Congressman’s office ahead of final vote on federal tax bill

Two dozen protestors gathered Monday in front of the NBSC Bank building near U.S. Rep. Tom Rice’s office on Oak Street to oppose a federal tax bill up for a final vote in Congress this week.

Karen Yaniga, who led the protest, called the legislation “deceitful” and “highly dangerous to the majority of Americans.”

“The cuts that are given to the lower and middle class are not permanent. They’re going to expire and people are going to have to start paying even more in taxes once we get into 2019,” said Yaniga of Club 142 United, a political activist group of mostly women.

Under the Republican bill hammered out by House and Senate leaders Friday, the corporate tax rate would drop from 35 percent to 21 percent and would cut taxes for nearly all individuals, giving the biggest breaks to the wealthy while offering some relief to the middle class, according to The Washington Post.

“The wealthy are going to get wealthier. The poor are going to get poorer,” Yaniga said.

Yaniga and a group of nine others walked into the Republican representative’s office to express their concerns with the tax bill, asking the Congressman to vote against it.

Members of Grand Strand Action Together and Living Liberally joined Club 142 United in the protest Monday, taking turns addressing their concerns with an aide in Rice’s office, while other protestors held signs on the sidewalk outside.

“This is very important to us,” said Rita Smith, leader of the Pawley’s Island chapter of Living Liberally. “We’re concerned about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (fine).”

“The end of the mandate for ACA is huge,” Yaniga said, referring to language that would eliminate the fine for people who do not buy health insurance beginning in 2019, which protestors fear will lead to a shrinking insurance pool.

“Thirteen million people will probably lose healthcare and the health premiums for the remainder of the people are going to go up because we’ve lost a big portion of the pool,” Yaniga said.

Protestors expressed concerns with other provisions, they accuse of being slipped into the bill like the one to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration and drilling.

“Home ownership for the middle class will be unaffordable ... (and) they may take away a chunk of our Social Security and Medicare to pay for the tax cuts,” said Joan Ananiew, who added that the bill would also raise the nation’s deficit by at least $1 trillion over 10 years.