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Capitol Hill Update, 13 April, 2015

Capitol Hill Update, 13 April, 2015

This Wednesday is Tax Day – or as we’re calling it with ObamaCare in full effect, “Mandate Day”. This will be the first year that millions of Americans have had to pay a fine to the IRS for the simple action of not buying a product the government wants you to buy.

House & Senate/Schedule: Both House and Senate are back in town after a two-week recess. The House will recess next for the week of May 4th, while the Senate remains in session until Memorial Day week (May 25th).

Legislative Highlight of the Week: The House will vote on a number of bills related to reining in the IRS and blocking several avenues that bureaucrats like Lois Lerner have used to target political groups. One of the most noteworthy of these bills is the Fair Treatment for All Donations Act, H.R. 1104. Introduced by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), this bill would stop the IRS from implementing a regulation that they have discussed that would allow them to tax large donations to non-profit 501(c)4 groups as “gifts”. FreedomWorks previously issued a letter of support for this bill.

Others of this package of bills would:

  • Make it much easier to fire IRS employees like Lois Lerner who abuse their positions to target political groups (H.R. 709),
  • Allow groups which are denied tax-exempt status to appeal their denial (H.R. 1314),
  • Establish a basic taxpayers’ bill of rights (H.R. 1058),
  • Prohibit IRS employees from using their personal email accounts for official business (H.R. 1152),
  • Expedite the ability of non-profit groups to secure 501(c)4 status (H.R. 1295).

These bills are very good steps to help prevent a repeat of the egregious political targeting of non-profit groups like that towards tea party and liberty groups in recent years.

House/Taxation: The House will also vote Thursday on a bill to fully repeal the Estate Tax – better known as the “Death Tax”. The Death Tax Repeal Act, H.R. 1105, has been introduced by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX). The death tax is one of the single most unfair taxes in the code today – taxing property and savings that have already been taxed multiple times during the owner’s life after their death. Frequently, the death tax causes family farms and other family-owned businesses to have to split up or go under. FreedomWorks will score Yes votes on this bill on our online Congressional Scorecard.

House & Senate/Budget: After each passing their own budget resolutions to set spending guidelines for Fiscal Year 2016, the House and Senate will need to conference to match up their respective bills. It is very important that the final budget resolution continue to contain reconciliation language that would allow Congress to send a bill to repeal ObamaCare to the president's desk. You can read more on the importance of reconciliation HERE.

Senate/Doc Fix: The Senate will be taking up the “doc fix” bill that the House passed just before the Easter/Passover recess, H.R. 2. The bill aims to stop a massive cut in Medicare payments to doctors. Unfortunately, the bill has a massive cost that the House failed to offset, and also reauthorizes the single-payer government health care program for kids, S-CHIP. In order to address the major deficit spending this bill would cause, Senator Mike Lee will introduce an amendment that would simply force the bill to abide by the “pay-as-you-go” requirement that Congress routinely waives. This would force Congress to come up with spending offsets to this bill by the end of the year.

Other items that may come up over the next couple of weeks include House bills on cybersecurity, PATRIOT Act reauthorization, and appropriations, and Senate confirmation of Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as U.S. Attorney General.