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Jamie Davis Smith's picture

The Senate is set to vote this week on the most sweeping tax bill in a generation. This is no dry bill making small adjustments to the tax code. Instead, it is a bill that will affect nearly every aspect of life for average Americans from education to home ownership; from health care to child care; from safety net programs to help the neediest members of our community to how drug research is performed.

I’m a not a policy expert, lobbyist or politician. What I am is a Mother who is terrified of how this bill will affect families like mine and those not as fortunate as me.

Earlier this week I was able to share my story and my concerns with Senator Bob Caseyfrom Pennsylvania and Senator Maize Hirono from Hawaii in a press conference held with Moms Rising, an organization that fights for the issues that are critical for my family’s health and financial security. Throughout the day I was able to advocate with other concerned organizations advocates, including The National Organization for Rare Disorders and Little Lobbyists.


Moms Rising and Little Lobbyists members meeting with a member of Republican Senator Jeff Flake’s office.


The tax plans that congressional Republicans have proposed will make our lives much harder and put my children’s future at risk.

My oldest daughter Claire was born with significant disabilities. Just to get through her day-to-day life, she needs a wheelchair, a hearing aid, a special bed to sleep in, intensive physical therapies, a personal care attendant and so much more. Thankfully, our health insurance and Medicaid cover a lot of these necessary pieces of her medical care, but needless to say, our family incurs a lot of expenses each year. Thankfully, we’ve been able to take advantage of several tax deductions to make ends meet — deductions that are now at risk in the Republican tax proposal.


Without the student loan deduction, I would never have been able to accept the job I wanted after law school, doing civil rights work rather than going to a major corporate firm. I wanted to make a difference in my community with my work, but paying back my loans was a huge burden. Being able to take the student loan deduction was a major factor in my job choice and provided a lot of relief for me and my family.

It would be difficult for us to pay for child care for four children without the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. I work flexible hours so that I can be home to care for my kids as much as possible, but being able to afford child care has allowed me to work more and help contribute to our family’s financial security. If this plan passes, I’ll either have to cut back on my hours, or work later at night when my husband is home and spend less time with my kids.

Knowing that we could take advantage of the mortgage deduction and state and local tax deduction were huge factors when we decided where to buy our house. We wanted to be in DC where we could have access to fantastic resources for our daughter with disabilities, and we wanted to be in a good school district so that our other three children could be in a strong academic setting. But DC property is expensive — the mortgage deduction and the state and local tax deduction have been critical in helping us make ends meet and give our kids every chance to learn and thrive.


Members of the National Organization for Rare Diseases in the Capitol.


It’s hard for me to stomach the idea of taking away deductions that are so critical for middle class families to give wealthy individuals a tax break to clean their private jets. How do we reconcile that policy with our nation’s claim to value equality of opportunity for all its citizens? Not to mention that we know where the money for these tax cuts will come from — . And of course, the one thing that could help us in that situation — the medical expense deduction — is also on the chopping block.

This plan would compound our family’s already stressful financial situation, and it would be disastrous for so many families less fortunate than ours. I also worry about how it will affect my kids in the future. It’s already so difficult to pay back student loans, to buy a house, to care for children — how much harder will it be down the road for people that are never able to deduct these expenses? We should be trying to make our country a better place for our children to live in, not setting them up for failure. We should be boosting struggling families, not tearing them down. Simply put, this tax plan does not represent our country’s values and it should not become law.

Originally published at the Huffington Post.


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