GOP Tax Plan Rewards Wealthy at Expense of Working Families

The tax plan released today by House Republicans has generated negative reactions from advocate groups, academics, journalists, Democratic lawmakers, and even one Republican senator. The GOP tax plan would give a shameful deficit-busting tax cut to the wealthiest Americans at the expense of working families.

UnidosUS is committed to ensuring that the tax code puts more money in workers’ pockets. That’s why we’re opposed to any plan that robs families of their hard-earned money in order to line the pockets of the already wealthy.

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Republicans’ New Tax Framework Robs the Poor and Gives to the Rich

By Yuqi Wang, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project

Unfortunately for the millions of individuals and families who continue to feel the brunt of stagnating wages, eroded overtime policies, and a flatlining federal minimum wage, the newest tax framework that has been proposed would only make it more difficult for them to make ends meet. The Trump administration and Congressional Republicans’ latest tax reform framework threatens to exacerbate working families’ struggles, providing massive tax cuts to wealthy individuals and corporations disguised as a plan to help the working class.

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Weekly Washington Outlook – June 9, 2014

U.S. CapitolWhat to Watch This Week:

Congress:

The House:

The House returns from its recess Monday afternoon to consider a number of bills under suspension of the rules:

1) H.R. 2072 – Demanding Accountability for Veterans Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Dan Benishek / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

2) H.Res. 600 – Urging the Government of Afghanistan, following a successful first round of the presidential election on April 5, 2014, to pursue a transparent, credible, and inclusive run-off presidential election on June 14, 2014, while ensuring the safety of voters, candidates, poll workers, and election observers, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Alan Grayson / Foreign Affairs Committee)

3) H.R. 4412 – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2014, as amended(Sponsored by Rep. Steven Palazzo / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)

4) S. 1254 – Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2013 (Sponsored by Sen. Bill Nelson / Science, Space, and Technology Committee)

5) H.Con.Res. 100 – Authorizing the use of the rotunda of the Capitol for a ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act (Sponsored by Rep. Marcia Fudge / House Administration Committee)

6) S.Con.Res. 36 – A concurrent resolution permitting the use of the rotunda of the Capitol for a ceremony to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the next of kin or personal representative of Raoul Wallenberg (Sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand / House Administration Committee)

7) H.R. 3211 – Mortgage Choice Act (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Huizenga / Financial Services Committee)

8) H.R. 1679 – To amend the Expedited Funds Availability Act to clarify the application of that Act to American Samoa, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Eni Faleomavaega / Financial Services Committee)

9) H.R. 4228 – DHS Acquisition Accountability and Efficiency Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Duncan / Homeland Security Committee)

H.R. 4745 – Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015 (Open Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Tom Latham / Appropriations Committee)

On Tuesday and the balance of the week, the House will consider the following under suspension of the rules:

1) H.R. __– The Veterans Access to Care Act (Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Miller / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

2) H.Res. 608 – Condemning the senseless rampage and mass shooting that took place in Isla Vista, California, on Friday May 23, 2014, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Lois Capps / Oversight and Government Reform Committee)

The House will also vote on a number of tax and appropriations bills in the period including:

H.R. 4745 – Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015 (Open Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Tom Latham / Appropriations Committee)

H.R. 4880 – Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Robert Aderholt / Appropriations Committee)

H.R. 4453 – Permanent S Corporation Built-in Gains Recognition Period Act of 2014, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. David Reichert / Ways and Means Committee)

H.R. 4457 – America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2014 (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Pat Tiberi / Ways and Means Committee)

The Senate:

The Senate on Monday evening will take procedural votes to confirm a number of judicial nominations.  Consideration and confirmation of these nominees, which also include Stanley Fisher to become Vice-Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, will continue into Tuesday.  Later in the week, the Senate will likely move to Senator Warren’s (D-Mass.) student loan refinancing bill (S. 2432).  It is also possible that a compromise veteran’s bill from Senator Sanders (I-VT) and Senator McCain (R-Ariz.) could be brought to the floor.

White House:

On Monday, the president will host an event on education at the White House. Later in the afternoon, he will welcome the NCAA Champion UConn Huskies Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams to honor the teams and their 2014 NCAA Championships.  On Tuesday, President Obama will take to Tumblr in an event at the White House moderated by Tumblr Founder and CEO David Karp. The President will deliver remarks and answer questions from folks across the country on the importance of education, college affordability, and reducing student loan debt.  On Wednesday, Mr. Obama will travel to Worcester, Mass. to deliver the commencement address at the Worcester Technical High School graduation ceremony. The president will also attend a DSCC event in the Boston area. Following the event, the president will return to Washington.  On Thursday, he will hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia at the White House; the vice president will also attend. The two leaders will discuss a range of issues of mutual interest, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Australia’s leadership of the G-20 this year, the future of Afghanistan, and the growing bilateral defense relationship, including the rotation of U.S. Marines through Darwin. They will also address some of the most serious security issues that confront both Australia and the United States, including Syria, Russia’s actions in Ukraine, North Korea, and the security and stability of the Asia Pacific region. In the afternoon, the president will welcome the WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx to the White House to honor the team and their victory in the WNBA Finals. On Friday, the president and Mrs. Obama will travel to the Cannonball, North Dakota area to visit the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Following their visit to Indian Country, President Obama and the first lady will travel to Palm Springs, Calif. On Saturday, the president will deliver the commencement address at University of California, Irvine on the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the UC Irvine campus by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Also this week and beyond:

Immigration – Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is scheduled to testify on Wednesday at a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing; immigration reform could come up. Elsewhere, immigration reform was not included in Majority Leader Cantor’s memo to members on what to expect on the floor in the next three weeks.  It’s worth noting, however, that his primary is Tuesday.  While immigration reform will likely not be on the floor this month, the House Judiciary Committee plans to hold a hearing on June 19 on the rise of unaccompanied minors, claiming this is a result of the president’s failure to enforce existing immigration laws.

Veterans – The House and Senate are both expected to consider legislation this week to address the scandal at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. The Chairman of the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) will have a bill on the floor later this week focusing on access to private care. Details of this are still being finalized. Similarly, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders announced an agreement in principle late last week on legislation that would make it easier to fire VA employees and allow veterans to access private care more easily. The agreement reached with Senator John McCain could be on the floor later this week. In addition to legislation, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on Monday on data manipulation and access to Veterans’ Affairs Department healthcare facilities; the inspector general and GAO officials are expected to testify. The committee will also hold a hearing Thursday on barriers to veterans’ care.

Education – The White House and the Senate plan to focus this week on college affordability and student loan debt. The White House is expected to issue an executive order on Monday capping repayment of student loans at 10 percent of monthly income.  For its part, the Senate plans to proceed to a bill from Senator Warren that would allow students paying interest between 7-9 percent to refinance to current rates.

Appropriations – The House this week will vote on the Transportation – Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill for FY2015 as well as the Agriculture – FDA appropriations bill for FY2015. Both are open to amendments, and the Ag-FDA bill has come under particular scrutiny because of attempts to undermine school nutrition standards and define white potatoes as a vegetable under the Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program. At the Committee level in the House, will mark-up its defense spending bill and the measure for the Department of Homeland Security. In the Senate, the Appropriations Committee will mark-up Labor-Education-Health and Human Services on Wednesday.

Juvenile Justice – The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a field hearing on Monday, June 9 in Rhode Island on the reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act.  The hearing will focus on preserving youth potential and protecting communities.  Senator Sheldon Whitehouse will preside.

Campaign Finance – The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights Subcommittee will mark-up a proposed constitutional amendment on Wednesday that would reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United Case.

Financial Services – Richard Cordray, the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is scheduled to give his semi-annual report to Congress tomorrow before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. In the House, the Financial Services Committee will mark-up a series of bills designed to add additional requirements to CFPB rulemakings.

WIA – A compromise reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act is scheduled for consideration in both the House and Senate during the June work period.

Health – The House Ways and Means Committee’s Health and Oversight Subcommittees will hold a joint hearing on Tuesday to examine fraud and data issues with the verification system for insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.

Tax Reform – The House will vote this week on two bills which make permanent two currently expired tax provisions. H.R. 4453 would extend the reduced recognition period for built-in gains of S corporations and also includes language on charitable contributions.  H.R. 4457 related to expensing limitations under section 179.  Neither measure is offset.  The House Ways and Means Committee plans to continue to look at extenders that should be made permanent, while a traditional extenders package has stalled on the Senate floor and is unlikely to be revived until after the mid-term elections.

Nominations – The Senate Budget Committee and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee have scheduled confirmation hearings on Wednesday for Shaun Donovan’s nomination to head the Office of Management and Budget.

Weekly Washington Outlook – June 2, 2014

White House at Night

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

The House:

The House is in recess this week, returning Monday, June 9.

The Senate:

The Senate returns from its recess Monday afternoon to consider a number of pending judicial and executive nominations, including Sylvia Matthews Burwell’s confirmation to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services.  While much of the week will be devoted to nominations, it is possible that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will take-up a bill making it easier to dismiss Veterans Affairs officials for misconduct.  It is also possible later in the week Senate Leadership will bring to the floor legislation that would permit recreational hunting and fishing in federal wilderness areas (S. 2363).

White House:

On Monday, the president will speak on a conference call in the afternoon on the Environmental Protection Agency’s rulemaking to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Later in the evening, he will depart for Warsaw, Poland. On Tuesday morning, President Obama will arrive in Warsaw, where he and President Bronislaw Komorowski of Poland will have an opportunity at the airport to meet with U.S. and Polish airmen who are supporting an aviation mission based at Lask Air Base. Following this event, the president will travel to Belweder Palace to take part in a bilateral meeting and joint press conference with President Komorowski. In the afternoon, the president will travel to the Chancellery of the Prime Minister to participate in a bilateral meeting and deliver statements to the press with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. Later, he will go to the Presidential Palace to co-host with President Komorowski a meeting with Central and Eastern European leaders. In the evening, the president will attend a Solidarity Dinner at the Royal Castle. On Wednesday, President Obama will hold a bilateral meeting with President-elect Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and then travel to the Royal Castle to take an official family photo with leaders attending the Freedom Day event, marking the 25th anniversary of Poland’s first partially free election. At the Royal Castle, Mr. Obama will deliver remarks commemorating Freedom Day. In the afternoon, he will fly to Brussels, Belgium. In the evening, the president will travel to the Royal Palace of Brussels to meet with King Philippe of Belgium. Afterward, he will attend the 2014 G-7 Summit, which will begin with a leaders working dinner on foreign policy issues. On Thursday, the president will participate in G-7 meetings on the global economy and energy and climate issues and a G-7 working lunch on development. G-7 leaders will also take a traditional “family photo.”  In the afternoon, President Obama will participate in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom. In the evening, the president will travel to Paris, where he will have dinner with President Hollande and remain overnight. On Friday, the president will travel to Normandy, France, to deliver remarks at Omaha Beach for the 70th French-American Commemoration D-Day Ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. In the afternoon, he will travel to Sword Beach to attend a leaders lunch hosted by President Hollande and then attend the Ouistreham International Ceremony.  In the evening, President Obama will depart France en route to Washington. Continue reading

Weekly Washington Outlook – May 12, 2014

U.S. Capitol

What to Watch This Week:

Congress:

The House:

The House is not in session this week.

The Senate:

On Monday, the Senate will vote to confirm two nominations and then proceed to a motion to end debate on the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2014 (S. 2262). If cloture is invoked, the Senate will vote on passage early in the week and likely a stand-alone measure to authorize the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline by TransCanada Corp. Following disposition of S. 2262, the Senate will take a procedural vote to advance a Finance Committee-backed bill to extend retroactively over fifty expired tax credits.

White House:

On Monday, the president will host President Jose Mujica Cordano of Uruguay at the White House; the vice president will also attend. They will discuss strengthening bilateral economic ties and improving market access for each nation’s goods and services; expanding collaboration on science, technology, and health; increasing educational exchanges; and consulting on multilateral issues including peacekeeping. In the afternoon, the president and vice president will honor the 2014 National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) TOP COPS award winners at the White House. On Tuesday, President Obama will award Kyle J. White, a former active duty Army Sergeant, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. Sergeant White will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as a Platoon Radio Telephone Operator assigned to C Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on November 9, 2007. Sergeant White will be the seventh living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. On Wednesday, the president and the first lady will travel to New York metropolitan area. While in New York, President Obama will host an event on the economy and attend DNC and DSCC events. On Thursday, the president and the first lady will tour the National September 11th Memorial and Museum; Mr. Obama will also deliver remarks at the dedication ceremony. Following his remarks, the president and the first lady will return to Washington for unspecified meetings in the White House on Friday.

Also this week and beyond:

Immigration Reform – Last week, Congressmen Cardenas (D-Calif.), Polis (D-Colo.), and Garcia (D-Fla.) used a series of parliamentary maneuvers to offer the budgetary savings from H.R. 15, the House companion to the Senate immigration bill, to offset an unpaid for permanent extension of the Research & Development tax credit. This effort provided an opportunity for these members to speak on the House floor about the economic benefits of immigration reform and ask House Republicans why they will not bring a bill for a vote on the floor. Elsewhere, Congressman Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) reminded his colleagues last week that the deadline for Congress to act is August.

Healthcare – The Senate Finance Committee will hold a confirmation hearing on Wednesday on Sylvia Mathews Burwell’s nomination to Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. While she will likely face difficult questions about the Affordable Care Act, she is widely expected to be confirmed.

Veterans’ Healthcare – Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is scheduled to appear before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Thursday to address allegations of delays in service in VA hospitals. The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, for its part, has subpoenaed documents from the agency relating to these claims and a number of members, including House Speaker John Boehner, have called for Secretary Shinseki’s resignation.

Housing Finance Reform – On Tuesday, Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt will give a speech at the Brookings Institution outlining the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under conservatorship. The remarks come at a particularly sensitive time as draft legislation to unwind the GSEs appears stalled in the Senate.  After postponing a mark-up of Johnson-Crapo to attempt to get support from six Democrats on the Committee, the Senate Banking Committee will reconvene on Thursday to finish. The expectation is that the six Democrats will not endorse the measure after negotiations fell apart late last week.  Without their support, the bill’s chances on the Senate floor are meager.

Transportation – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will mark-up a six-year surface transportation reauthorization on Thursday. The mark-up will follow a call by the president on Wednesday at an event in New York to invest in infrastructure and quickly pass a so-called “highway bill” before the Highway Trust Fund runs dry. The last reauthorization expires at the end of September.

Education – The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will mark-up on Wednesday Chairman Harkin’s (D-Iowa) Strong Start for America’s Children Act.  The bill would expand early education programs for children under five.

Tax Reform – The Senate this week will consider “extender” legislation that would retroactively extend the majority of the fifty-five tax credits that expired at the end of 2013.  The extension currently has no off-set and attempts to use revenue from limiting Child Tax Credit eligibility for ITIN-filers are widely anticipated to be put forward. The Senate approach to extenders is in sharp contrast with the House; Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp has indicated that he will renew each expired credit on an individual basis and plans to make several permanent as a means to change the baseline of his draft bill.