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Here's FreedomWorks' weekly update from the Hill for the week of April 22-26.
Schedule: The House and Senate are in session this week, but will both head home next week. Congress will resume session on May 6th.
Legislative Highlight of the Week: This week's featured legislation is in the Senate, which will be voting on the so-called "Marketplace Fairness Act", S. 743. Introduced by Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), this bill will allow states to collect sales taxes from businesses outside their borders. So if I, a Virginia resident, buy something online from a busines in Montana (which has no sales tax), I have to pay Virginia's sales tax on that product, and the business then has to remit the tax amount to my state. Final passage on this bill could happen either this week or after the recess - FreedomWorks has issued a Key Vote: NO against this bill. You can read more about why this bill is bad policy HERE.
House/Health Care: The major bill being considered in the House before recess is H.R. 1549, the Helping Sick Americans Now Act. Sponsored by Congressman Joe Pitts (R-PA), this bill would take money from the ObamaCare "slush fund" and use it to fund high-risk pools where patients with pre-existing conditions can get affordable insurance. While not a perfect policy solution on its own, the bill highlights the irony that ObamaCare fails on its own to actually cover the uninsured, whom the bill was supposedly passed to help. FreedomWorks supports the strategy behind this bill - you can read more about our support HERE.
House/New Fair Deal: As mentioned last week, the first two bills of the New Fair Deal have been released, both of which deal with stopping the government from giving handouts to handouts to corporations and favoring some industries over others. H.R. 1567, the New Fair Deal: CEO's Act, introduced by Rep. Mulvaney (R-SC), eliminates several egregious pieces of direct corporate welfare. H.R. 1569, the New Fair Deal: BARONS Act, introduced by Rep. Pompeo (R-KS), eliminates a number of energy subsidies and credits in the tax code.
House/Welfare: Rep. Tim Huelskamp has reintroduced a great bill, H.R. 1355, the State Nutrition Flexibility Act. This bill would take all of the food welfare programs such as food stamps and block grant their funding to the states. As was demonstrated by welfare reforms in the 1990s, allowing the states to manage their own welfare programs leads to better results, with more money the reaching people actually in need.
House/Health Care: Rep. Bill Huizenga of Michigan has introduced H.R. 1522, the Health Care Freedom For Seniors Act. This bill would allow seniors who have IRA and 401k plans to take the monthly amounts that they are required to withdraw from those accounts and roll it into a Health Savings Account, tax free. This would allow seniors more control over their own health care, always a good thing.
Lame Duck sessions are the crazy drunken uncles of the Congressional schedule - we didn't invite them, nothing good ever happens when they're here, but every couple of years during the holidays they show up anyways and make a nuisance of themselves. Ousted and retiring lawmakers get to vote on laws that their successors will have to live with, and recently reelected Members feel invincible and unaccountable to anyone. Good times.