WASHINGTON—Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children, issued the following statement after passage of the Republican tax bill in the House and Senate:

“The only simple thing about this tax bill is that the bulk of its benefits flow to wealthy families and corporations at the expense of working families and children. Corporations will enjoy a steep decrease in their tax rate, which will plummet from 35 percent to 21 percent, permanently.

In 2027, nearly 83% of the tax breaks are projected to go to the top 1% of earners.  On the other hand, hard-working families with children, especially those in poverty, will, at best, see modest—but temporary—tax breaks, with the poorest left out entirely.  Sadly, in the name of a partisan victory and so-called simplification of our tax code, the President and his Congressional Majority have ushered through a tax overhaul in record time with no regard for legislative process or bipartisanship.  The result heavily and shamefully favors the wealthiest.

At the same time that extraordinary measures were used to rush a deficit-ballooning tax bill to the President, an extremely successful and bipartisan Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) expired.  Ironically, this upside-down prioritization stems from claims that the $8 billion CHIP cost requires funding offsets.  This explanation for inaction on CHIP is appalling given that the tax bill will cost more than 100 times that over the next five years.

In addition, this unfair, lopsided and insulting tax bill gambles with our children’s future by relying on unfounded expectations for economic growth.  Congress’ own independent analysts estimate that this tax bill will increase the deficit by $1.45 trillion. Our young people can expect to shoulder this debt burden, experience shrinking social services and ultimately pay for the tax cuts with higher taxes.

Already, the tax bill’s supporters have indicated they will dismantle the social safety net to compensate for this explosion in the deficit. This endangers critical programs that serve families and children, such as Medicaid, temporary assistance for needy families (TANF), child nutrition programs, and housing assistance. Families cannot afford to lose these crucial supports, which are already receiving a declining share of the federal budget.  As of 2017, less than 8 percent of total federal spending goes to children.

Supporters of the tax bill have chosen to reward corporations and the wealthiest over children. The First Focus Campaign for Children finds this behavior intolerable and unconscionable and will continue to fight to ensure these policymakers no longer view our children as an afterthought.”