ACTION NEEDED! Republicans in Congress continue their attack on working-class Americans with the elimination of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, one of the most positive Republican initiatives of the Bush era. This means that the EMTs, police officers, teachers, and social workers who sacrifice so much for the betterment of our communities will NOT have their student loans forgiven. This cannot be tolerated! Demand that GOP legislators preserve the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program!
We've received another extremely important National endorsement from Demand Universal Healthcare (DUH), an advocacy group for greater access to universal healthcare, especially Medicare for All, in America.
Our campaign is honored by this endorsement, and excited that our policy is resonating with the American people. Healthcare is one of the most important things we have to stand and fight for. Without adequate health care, millions of Americans are pushed into debt each year, even more are forced to declare bankruptcy. This cannot stand any longer, and our campaign will fight for Medicare for All and true universal healthcare in America.
The GOP-led Federal Communications Commission is planning to undermine net neutrality on December 14. This decision will put control of the internet in the hands of a small number of the largest corporations on the planet. If you believe in small businesses and in the power of the internet to provide information and access to services for every American then I please help me stop this action. To #CreateTheChange we need, follow this link to contact your members of congress and defend your right to a free and open internet.
Today, MILegalize turned in its ballot signatures to bring state legalization of marijuana to the voters of Michigan in 2018.
I support the MILegalize ballot initiative and as your Congressional representative, I will push to deschedule marijuana at the federal level. Once we achieve this progressive victory, we will move to end the discriminatory enforcement of marijuana laws that send so many people of color to prison, invest in research to uncover even more medicinal benefits from marijuana, and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs for small businesses across the country.
We know the GOP tax plan is an irresponsible transfer of wealth from middle and working-class Americans to corporations and the ultra-wealthy. But the long-term effects this will have on the innovation that is central to our economy have been largely overlooked.
The Republicans' plan strips federal funding from higher education and undermines state budgets, which will lead to further reductions in state funds for higher education. This will accelerate the dangerous increase in tuition and the amount of student loan debt.
Graduate students will bear the brunt of this plan, as about $65 billion dollars will shift from the hands of graduate students to corporations over the course of the next decade. The GOP plan does away with deductions for tuition waivers that helped almost 150,000 students in the 2011-2012 academic year and penalizes students by removing the deduction for interest paid on student loans, a benefit claimed by 12 million students. These policies will make advance study out of reach for the next generation of innovators we desperately need.
In November, The Atlantic reported that the number of start-ups, the percentage of federal spending on research, and corporate investments in R&D have all been in decline since the 1960s. The economic might of the US was built on innovation and discovery and we need that energy fueling our future. If we defund research institutions we will be abdicating any claim to global leadership.
For a robust economy and a productive workforce, we need to invest in the future rather than lock up our national assets in the hands of a few greedy corporations. Let’s remove the tuition barrier at public colleges and universities to make a four-year degree available to every American, regardless of income. Let’s fund research and innovation to unshackle the economy, and let's spur the great advances we have come to expect from the US.
Here they go again, another attack on the ACA, this time in the guise of the Senate tax plan.
The Senate is proposing to end the ACA's efforts at universal coverage and to throw 13 million Americans off health care, while increasing everyone else's premiums by another 10%.
This is a clear example of the lack of responsibility and leadership of our elected officials. The fiscal irresponsibility of the financial windfalls for the wealthy in this plan will increase the deficit by over $1.5 trillion. To pay for that gift, taxes on the rest of us will increase.
Unable to create a real solution, the Senators will end all tax cuts and benefits offered to working and middle-class Americans in 2025, while allowing corporate tax cuts to continue without end.
Who do your Congressional Representatives and Senators represent? If they are not fighting against this tax plan, they do not represent you! I am fighting to #CreateTheChange needed to protect the ACA and to prevent this tax code from passing. Will you join me?
Are you over 50? Do you have chronic pain or health care needs? Do you have a parent, relative, or dependent in a nursing home or one who requires long-term care? If so, the House tax plan will make you pay for tax breaks for the ultra-wealthy and corporations. About 9 million Americans currently have health expenses that are high enough to warrant tax deductions. The majority of people claiming that deduction make less than $75,000 per year. That is one of the deductions the corporate puppets in Congress have axed in their tax bill in an effort to generate the highest possible tax breaks for the highest income bracket in the country and for corporations.
The House GOP is also going after Medicare, slashing about $500 billion from the main source of medical insurance for the elderly, raising the age of eligibility to 67, and pushing a privatization agenda. All of this is designed to undermine the most effective health care program in the US. Even that is not enough for the out-of-touch corporate puppets in Congress. They are also proposing a $1 trillion dollar cut to Medicaid, the source of health care for the neediest of our friends and neighbors.
Why are they doing this? Because they represent no one other than the ultra-wealthy and the corporations who fund their elections. The proposal is nothing other than a gift to the wealthy paid for on the backs of the American people. This tax bill adds $1.5 trillion to the deficit and tramples on the working and middle class, all to give more of our money to those who will use it to fund the elections of their corporate tools.
Please help me #CreateTheChange we need to stop this disastrous plan. Call your legislators and demand that this tax plan be rejected.
Is your home worth $2 million? If not, the current House version of the tax bill (supported by Fred Upton) is not written to help you.
This week I will investigate the proposed tax plans. The House and Senate are deadlocked, with the fiscal irresponsibility, in the form of budget-busting gifts to the ultra-wealthy, shown by House Republicans proving too blatant for the Senate to accept.
The gift under investigation today is the increase, to $10,000, in the allowed property tax deduction.
How would this will play out in Michigan? As a state, our property is taxed at the 7th highest rate in the nation. As a percentage of income, the residents of Kalamazoo County are in most heavily taxed ten percent of all counties in the US. St. Joseph County, the lowest in our district, is in the most heavily taxed quartile of all counties in the US, based on percentage of income paid in property taxes.
How is this increased deduction a gift to the wealthiest rather than relief for the working class? If you live in Kalamazoo County and would like to take full advantage of this deduction you need to own a home with a market value of about $1.3 million. If you are in St. Joseph County, your home has to be worth about $1.8 million to qualify for the full deduction.
I believe our tax code needs to be simplified and revised to spur the economy and improve the lives of our citizens. We can not do that by shifting the tax burden off the wealthy and onto the middle and working class. Help me #CreateTheChange we need in our tax policy by demanding the House version be scrapped and a new, equitable system of taxation implemented. #BenacForCongress
All numbers are estimates, but based on figures publicly available from the state of Michigan, the Tax Foundation, and the IRS.
Saturdays are my favorite days. Almost every Saturday finds us traveling the district and talking with people in several communities.
Yesterday we had an amazing team of volunteers come out in the cold to join us in the Kalamazoo Holiday Parade, then I headed over to the Rose Park Veterans Memorial for a powerful and somber commemoration to our veterans, and finally we dashed down to Benton Harbor to join a spirited gathering of activists organized on behalf of the campaign by Berrien County Our Revolution.
Where will we be this week and the upcoming Saturday? Follow the page for more details and if you'd like us to come visit with you, just let us know and we'll be there!
Today is Veterans Day, a day to remember the service, valor, and sacrifice of those who answered the call for all of us. Please honor our Veterans today, then continue that on every other day, as well.
Earlier this week, when in DC, we visited the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial to pay our respects to those who fell in that disastrous conflict, then traveled to Gettysburg to remember those soldiers who fought to preserve our nation.
Visiting those sites and reflecting on the sacrifices made by our veterans and all of the lives that have been lost reinforces the knowledge that war is horrible. Those who endure the weight of service deserve the deepest respect from all of us who remain safe and free.
At our town hall in Lawrence last night, we had a productive discussion that covered a wide range of issues, including health care, educational policy, green energy, veterans' benefits, the corrupting influence of big money in politics, and how we can win in 2018. It is clear that the people of Van Buren County agree with me: #TownHallsMatter.
The crowd left energized and ready to #CreateTheChange in the 2018 elections. The support and encouragement of the people in MI-06 is the fuel for our campaign and we will continue to fight for the well being of every American. #BenacForCongress
Thank you, Brand New Congress! This is another great national endorsement that shows we are ready to fight for the people of our district and to put an end to the corporate greed that is destroying our health care system, our environment, and the very democracy that is at the core of our national identity. We are ready to #CreateTheChange!
Our campaign is proud to announce that we are part of the slate of national Democratic Candidates endorsed by Justice Democrats.
Founded by former Bernie Sanders campaign staffers with the intention of replacing Republicans and Democrats who display more loyalty to Wall Street than their constituents, Justice Democrats have been selecting and backing grassroots, progressive candidates across the country. With their help, we aim to make our nation a healthier, more economically vibrant, and just society.
Thank you to the Cass District Library for hosting us, and all the voters who came out to ask questions and get involved. This is how we make a difference, by engaging directly with voters and listening to the issues that are important to them.
You can now purchase shirts, bumper stickers, and sticky wallets from our online store!
Town halls are democracy in action. The residents of Sturgis who turned out, asked questions, and shared their stories at our town hall on Wednesday are proof that our nation is at its best when communities engage in open discussion. Thank you for your hospitality, and I will do my very best to continue to earn your support. #CreateTheChange#BenacForCongress
After another week of reaching out to voters it is clear that it is time for change. Our neighbors in the district are demanding good jobs, world-class public education, health care that is universal and not under attack, and elected officials who work for us rather than the lobbyists! Thank you Vicksburg Historical Society Harvest Fest and St. Joseph County Grange Fair for bringing your communities together so we can stand up for Southwest Michigan.
Thank you to the Van Buren Democratic Party for allowing me to speak at their recent meeting. We discussed many issues that are important to this district, including how to help farmers and our rural areas, getting corporate money out of politics, and voter engagement, especially getting our young people involved. Thanks also to our many volunteers and supporters that showed up to the meeting.
This is your district and our campaign values your voice. We have been visiting every county and listening to your concerns and ideas in order to make sure the 6th District works for all of us!
Check out our most recent newsletter below. If you would like to stay up-to-date and receive our newsletter in the future, sign up here.
In the past couple weeks I have had several opportunities to meet with the youth of southwest Michigan. Yesterday I met with students at Brandywine Senior High School and left impressed with their knowledge and the concern they showed for their future and the future of their community. If we do our part and support their efforts, the nation will be in good hands.