Protesters gathered at the Oklahoma Capitol Saturday to push back against the so-called “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” passed at 1:50 in the morning Dec. 2 in the U.S. Senate.
The bill is now with a conference committee to harmonize the Senate and House versions. Both houses will have to vote on the report before it goes to the President.
Opponents are still hopeful they can pressure Congress on the final vote.
If passed, it will give large tax cuts to the richest Americans and corporations.
The event was called “Tax bill blowback rally” and was organized by the advocacy group, Indivisible Oklahoma.
“I don’t think the senators or Congress people from Oklahoma have our best interests at heart,” said Jonathan Serna who made his own sign. “They are a mechanism for extreme partisanship to the detriment of all of us.”
Oraynab Jwayyed spoke to hundreds who cheered her speech that was sharply critical not only of Oklahoma’s two Republican Senators, but also the Oklahoma Legislature that is controlled by a super majority of Republicans.
“We have a government that is so inefficient or willing to cave into pressure by lobbyists that it can’t even draft a budget to pay for basic services to the vulnerable and needy,” she said.
“Just look at the national spectacle Oklahoma’s Legislature has become. After eight weeks, two whole months of grueling committee and floor meetings, Republicans were unwilling to tax corporations to save our state,” Jwayyed said to cheers and shouts from the crowd.
She accused the Republican Party in Oklahoma of “tunnel vision” in their inability to pass a tax increase on big businesses to pay for state services so many count on.
Jwayyed characterized the national and state Republican argument: “Help the corporations and they in turn will help the people.”
“Well that strategy did not work under Reagan, it hasn’t worked in Kansas, and it sure as hell won’t work here or now.”
Sarah Harvey held a sign that said, “They’re robbing you blind!”
Harvey said she is a cancer survivor and doesn’t see how she will be able to survive without the Medicare she will start receiving in a few months.
She was referring to statements by some Republicans that the next thing will be to reduce Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Harvey is in the Edmond Democratic Women organization, an unusual but growing group for a suburb of Oklahoma City widely known for years as a haven for far-right political thinking.
Tim O’Connor, President of the Central Oklahoma Labor Federation, closed the rally mocking Present Donald Trump’s recent comments about the tax cut being a Christmas gift to the American people.
“This bill is simply a lump of coal to people across the country.”
“The only real gift is major tax giveaways to Wall Street, big corporations and the super-rich, when what we really need is an investment in our schools and infrastructure that create jobs,” said O’Connor to cheers and hoots from the crowd.
He closed by leading rally-goers line by line in a pledge as they raised their clenched fists:
- I will not lie down.
- I will not go quietly.
- I will not submit.
- I will not roll over.
- I will not comply.
- I will not shut up.
- I will not sit down.
- I will stand up.
- And I will fight back against the tax on working families.
Free Press talked with him after his speech about the bill.
“There’s nothing in there for working families. It’s just slanted for tax cuts to corporations,” said O’Connor.