House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has insisted that Republicans “do not want to raise taxes on anyone” because the American people demanded: “stop tax hikes.” Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has said that, in a time when the government is trying to spur private businesses to create jobes, Republicans “don’t believe that tax rates should go up” at all. However, as the Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo notes, “House Republicans are evidently getting over their allergy for tax increases, at least when it helps them restrict a woman’s right to choose.”
Today, the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on H.R.3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions Act, which would “prevent women from using itemized medical deductions, certain tax-advantaged health care accounts or tax credits included in last year’s health care law to pay for abortions or for health insurance plans that cover abortion.” Doing so would force both women and small businesses that provide health insurance that covers abortion to pay more in taxes than they would otherwise. As Bloomberg News’s Richard Rubin points out, under “common Republican definitions,” this can be “viewed as a tax increase — which is anathema to the House majority.” Even economic conservative Grover Norquist was “concerned” that the policy, “however well-intentioned or virtuous,” would “mask a net tax increase.”
When asked about this apparent hypocrisy today, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) told ThinkProgress that the GOP bill is “nothing short of a tax increase.” Noting that 87 percent of small businesses offer health insurance plans that include abortion coverage, she slammed the GOP for pushing an “outrageous” “anti-women” tax increase to “reach deep into the personal lives of all American women, of all small business owners and twist the Republican nose” into people’s privacy:
WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: This is nothing short of a tax increase, I mean we have to call it exactly what it is. The Republicans are proposing a tax increase on all women because in their anti-women legislation H.R.3, they would take away the tax benefit from all small businesses if their health insurance offers abortion coverage which 87 percent of them do. So essentially they are saying if you are a small business owner and you offer your employees insurance and that policy covers abortion, then you will not be able to benefit from the tax credits that the Affordable Care Act allows you and also that you can already take by offering insurance to your employees.
It’s outrageous. The Republicans are maintaining and proponents of this legislation are maintaining that all they are doing is codifying the status quo and prohibiting federal funding of abortions. This legislation goes much further. It reaches deep into the personal lives of all American women, of all small business owners and twists the Republican nose into the business of people who need insurance and also small business owners who want to provide coverage for their employees.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) told ThinkProgress that this is both a war on the “reproductive health of American women and men,” because “if a man was to buy an insurance policy that included a provision that might cover abortions, he would not be able to participate in the exchanges that are being set up.” “This is the most ridiculous, frivolous, but also mean-spirited anti-health care legislation that we’ve seen,” she added.