Reform Jewish Movement Urges Senate to Reject Tax Overhaul

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For Immediate Release

December 19, 2017

WASHINGTON – In response to the House’s passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, released the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the wider Reform Movement:

“We are deeply disappointed by the House’s passage of a misguided bill that will overhaul the tax code and diminish the government’s ability to meet the needs of Americans nationwide. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will have a devastating impact on the wellbeing of Americans for generations to come.

“The tax bill, if passed by the Senate, will impose a massive addition to the debt and threaten effective anti-poverty programs, including Medicaid and SNAP. It makes the tax code more regressive and less fair, deepening our country’s already-significant economic inequality.

“This bill also includes damaging provisions beyond the structure of the tax code. The repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate could leave as many as 13 million more Americans without health insurance. And its provisions allowing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge endangers an ecologically vulnerable area and the Gwich'in people's way of life.

“As Jews, we are guided by the Torah’s command to ‘open your hand to the poor and needy kinsman in your land’ (Deuteronomy 15:11). Our texts, along with our tradition of communal social services, have taught us to regard the tax code as a reflection of our shared commitment to all people. We are compelled to contribute our fair share to the welfare of all in order to bring us closer to a world of justice.

“We are inspired by the ancient lessons of our tradition. Today, the government is the only institution that has the reach and ability to strengthen those in need wherever they may live. Unfortunately, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act shirks these commitments and enacts irresponsible tax cuts that will strain government resources for essential programs.

“We urge the Senate to reject this tax proposal.”

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.

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