Bishop Stephen Lane sent the letter posted below to Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) on Wednesday, December 7.
December 6, 2017
Dear Senator Collins:
Thank you again for your willingness to meet with me and Maine’s faith leaders in October. During that conversation you’ll recall that we shared our reservations about any tax plan that would eliminate the individual mandate and our concerns that it would make it harder for low- and middle-income families to keep body and soul together and result in higher out-of-pocket healthcare costs for us all.
Today, I write to express my concern that the promises secured from President Trump and Republican leadership will not be honored as a revised bill emerges from a Conference Committee. And, even if the amendments make it through and the bipartisan fixes you support pass, I fear that the provisions you fought for would not do enough to mitigate the damage done by eliminating the individual mandate.
My additional concerns about the tax plan include:
– It will add an unconscionable amount of money to our national debt, placing an incredible burden on our children, grandchildren, and future generations of Americans.
– Cuts to Medicare and Social Security triggered by the deficit circuit breaker would have harsh and unpredictable impacts on the aging population in Maine and across the U.S and would put our rural hospitals at great risk.
– The repeal of the Johnson Amendment would further muddy the crucial line between church and state.
– The lack of time allotted for public hearings, testimony, and thoughtful consideration of all the provisions included in such a comprehensive bill does not reflect the values of our democratic process.
As the conferenced bill comes to a vote, I urge you, Senator Collins, to stand up against and vote “no” for any tax bill that would adversely affect the long-term well being of millions of American families. You have repeatedly demonstrated your courage in taking positions unpopular with your party in order to serve the people of Maine. I hope you will do so again.
Please be assured that you, and your colleagues, remain in my prayers as you engage in the important work of leading our nation. May you be graced with wisdom and strength.
The Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane
Bishop of Maine