The following was written by Berkshires DSA members and published in the Berkshire Eagle:
Our Congressman, Richie Neal, is one of the most powerful members of the House of Representatives. We encourage all of his constituents to ask him tough questions on how he’ll use that power during his visit to the Berkshires this weekend.
As chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Neal can investigate, uncover and address abuses of power by big corporations, billionaires and Wall Street.
He can lead the way on big, bold new legislation like Medicare For All and a Green New Deal thaat would ensure meaningful well-paying jobs and healthcare for all of us in the Berkshires.
He can make sure Wall Street and the billionaire class pay their fair share in taxes.
He can crack down on the hedge fund and private equity managers who attack companies like Toys “R” Us and Sears/Kmart, to take their real estate and other valuable assets, lay off workers, cut pay, rob pension funds and use bankruptcy courts to cover their tracks.
His committee can work to undo the “GOP Tax Scam” and take back the massive tax cuts that President Trump and Republicans handed to the biggest corporations, the wealthiest billionaires and their heirs and heiresses.
And he has the legal power to obtain Trump’s tax returns and make them available for all Americans — including the FBI and IRS — to see.
We’re concerned that Chairman Neal is dragging his feet on many of these issues.
We’re concerned that new investigations demonstrate that Neal has taken big campaign contributions from many of the biggest corporations that pay little or nothing in taxes, when working people like us pay up year after year.
We’re concerned that recent filings show that Neal has raised almost three-quarters of his campaign funds from corporate political action committees.
It’s time for Mr. Neal to demonstrate that he’s working for the progressive, working-class voters of the Berkshires and the Pioneer Valley — not the billionaires and big corporations.
He can do that by backing Medicare For All and a Green New Deal, as so many of his colleagues have done in recent weeks.
He can do that by joining Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in working for a return of the 70% marginal tax rate on income over $10 million per year, to make sure the billionaires pay their fair share.
He can do that by closing the carried interest loophole, investigating corporate coddling at the IRS and the Treasury Department, and cracking down on corruption both on Wall Street and by the Wall Street players in Trump’s cabinet like Wilbur Ross and Steve Mnuchin.
Neal can and should demonstrate to the voters that he’s on our side.
He may be powerful as the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee — but Massachusetts voters will have the ultimate power over his political future.
Daniel G. Raftery
Berkshires Democratic Socialists of America