Sen. Bernie Sanders visits Lansing, speaks against GOP tax bill
According to Not One More Penny, the GOP tax bill increased taxes for more than 92 million middle-class families. And opposing such a bill, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., spoke at the Repeal the Trump Tax Rally on Feb. 25.
The 100-day tour made its stop in Lansing at 4 p.m. on Sunday, when Sanders spoke in front of hundreds at the Lansing Center.
Several speakers presented at the rally, including Sanders. Among the speakers was Mari Copeny, former Miss Little Flint and a 10-year-old activist.
"They already aren't paying their fair share," Copeny said. "In school, my teachers taught me that cheating is wrong, and if we were caught cheating we would be in big trouble. Clearly, no one told that to the Republicans in Congress."
The tax plan interferes with people's accessibility to programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.
Andrea Pietrowsky works for Little Lobbyists and advocates for children with complex medical needs. She took the stage with her husband and her three-year-old daughter. Her daughter was diagnosed with a severe heart defect when she was born and spent 232 days in the hospital.
"Thank you, Medicaid, for making it possible for my daughter to live at home," Pietrowsky said.
A Medicaid waiver made it possible for her to come home and eventually have her tracheotomy removed.
"All along we had quality private health insurance, but that wasn't enough," Pietrowsky said. "She needed more, she needed Medicaid in addition ... So, I do want to tell you I've gotten to know so many families with similar situations like ours, and they would not be able to keep the electricity on or a roof over there head if it weren't for Medicaid for their loved one. And just like me, they say, 'thank you, Medicaid.'"
Sanders said he believes the middle class is being harmed by this tax plan and the upper class should be paying more in taxes.
“America is not supposed to be about the three richest people in America, owning more wealth than the bottom half of the American people," Sanders said.
Sanders called for the minimum wage to be raised to $15 an hour so those who work 40 hours a week can no longer live in poverty.
"You know what is happening all across this country right now, states and cities are passing $15 dollars an hour. So thank you, Michigan, for helping us," Sanders said.
As more jobs are requiring a college degree, Sanders said he thinks colleges should offer free tuition to students. Sanders spoke briefly on the gun control issue in light of the Florida school shooting that took lives.
"We have got to stand up to the NRA," Sanders said.
Sanders acknowledged there is no simple solution to mass shootings, but he said action must be taken.
"In my view, the time is now to ban the sale and distribution of assault weapons," Sanders said.
Lyman Briggs College sophomore Hamza Kaakarli attended the Rally against the Trump Tax and addressed the problems he said he believes the tax will cause.
"Personally, I think the Trump Tax is going to be destructive not just in the short term, but in the long term, and many people alluded to the fact that our tax is going to increase to about $1.4 to $1.7 trillion," Kaakarli said. "I feel like for us as up-and-coming American citizens, in the near future we will be paying taxes and somehow we are going to have to find a way to have to pay back this debt."
Sanders said the job of Americans is to stand together and take action, and he encouraged the people that it is possible.
"Brothers and sisters, there is no end to what we can accomplish for our great country," Sanders said.