Thursday, December 17, 2015

Republican Speaker Paul Ryan Releases 2200 Page Omnibus Bill in Dead of Night-Read Bill

Congress released more than 2,200 pages of legislation following Pelosi’s example and released it in the dead of night — containing $1.1 trillion in spending, about $680 billion in tax cuts and a string of other policy changes.
Image result for paul ryan with beard On Friday, the House will vote on a $1.1 trillion bill that funds the government through September 2016. The Senate is expected to take up both measures on Friday.

Both the fossil fuel and alternative energy industries can count themselves as winners, following a trade of the decades-long ban on crude oil exports for an extension of wind and solar tax credits.
Syrian refugees, 9/11 first responders and the District of Columbia’s elementary and middle school sets are among the other winners. And don’t forget hard apple cider — a winner, thanks to Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is helping out upstate New York apple growers by updating tax laws surrounding the alcoholic refreshment.
Syrian refugees: A big, bipartisan majority in the House just voted to place new limits on Iraqi and Syrian refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. But that measure didn’t make it into the omnibus spending measure, which instead includes an even more bipartisan proposal to require more visas for certain travelers.
Vladimir Putin: Senators. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), chose “to reward Vladimir Putin and his cronies with a windfall of hundreds of millions of dollars” in the omnibus. Shelby tucked a provision into the omnibus that removes restrictions on using Russian-made rocket engines for military space launches. The provision directly overrides the National Defense Authorization Act, which limited United Launch Alliance to nine Russian engines for competitive military space launches. Why? ULA, a Lockheed Martin-Boeing joint venture that builds its rockets in Alabama, has argued it won’t have enough Russian-made RD-180 engines for military launches until a U.S. alternative is ready.
Preschool programs: Head Start gets a funding bump of $570 million in the spending bill, up to $9.2 billion, in just the latest reflection of how early education has become a top priority for the White House and congressional Democrats. The Child Care and Development Block Grants would also get an extra $326 million, while grants designed to help states expand and improve pre-K education are also included.
Michelle Obama’s lunch program: The first lady and her nutrition standards won for another year.
The IRS: actually got a funding bump from a Republican Congress this year, after it disclosed that hundreds of thousands of taxpayers had their personal information compromised through an agency application.
Charitable groups: The nonprofit sector gets several of their tax priorities extended permanently — including incentives for contributing from retirement funds, donating food and land preservation.
Trans fat: The FDA’s decision to basically toss artificial trans fats out of the U.S. has caused no small level of concern within the food industry. But lawmakers inserted language into the omnibus that gives the industry some cover from lawsuits by declaring that partially hydrogenated oils basically can't be considered unsafe until at least 2018.
The Affordable Care Act: Say what you will about past efforts to dismantle Obamacare, there was broad bipartisan agreement to delay or pause three major taxes in the Democratic health care law. The two-year pauses on the Cadillac tax and medical device tax, along with a one-year break in the health insurance tax, will subtract about $35 billion in funding for the ACA. More importantly, they represent the most significant hit to the president’s signature domestic achievement since it was passed more than five years ago. While the tax breaks are temporary, most experts predict they’ll be very difficult to reinstate given the broad bipartisan opposition. And the “risk corridors” language in the omnibus will lead to a $2.5 billion hole in the program.
The financial services industry: Banks got a few odds and ends in the omnibus, including a provision that keeps the Securities and Exchange Commission from mandating that companies disclose political donations. But banks and Republicans fell short in efforts to pare back Dodd-Frank regulations and in replacing capital lost in the recent transportation bill. On top of that, there was no serious effort to block the Labor Department from implementing a new fiduciary standard rule for retirement brokers, and efforts to impede Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rules were also brushed aside.
Immigration groups: Republicans pushed for much harsher provisions to stop improper payments of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, refundable incentives to poor families that were extended permanently in the tax deal. The measure will keep many newly documented or undocumented immigrants from retroactively claiming the incentives, but Democrats had feared the so-called integrity provisions could be much worse. Still, the National Immigration Law Center called it “shameful that anti-immigrant legislators continue to feel a constant need to add an anti-immigrant imprimatur to their legislation.”
The alcohol industry: Cider, beer and rum — oh my! It’s no surprise that the extenders bill would bring back an incentive to prop up the rum industries in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, one of the temporary tax breaks often labeled as a poster child for special interest handouts. But the tax extenders bill also gives relief to smaller brewers and distillers who were forced to cough up excise taxes to the government multiple times a month.
And the Schumer-backed CIDER Act would allow wine made from apples, pears, apple juice concentrate or pear juice concentrate to be defined as cider as long as the alcohol content didn’t exceed 8.5 percent. “You could say the CIDER Act is moving. How about them apples?” Schumer said at Senate Finance markup of tax provisions in February.

Read more: At Politico

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