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Capitol Hill Update: April 18, 2016

Schedule

The House and Senate are both in session this week.

House

House Republicans will be working to pass a number of bills on the House floor related to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) this week. House Republican leadership is looking to capitalize on the fact that Tax Day is today. The bills on the House floor this week include:

  • H. Res. 673, which would express the sense of the House that the IRS should provide printed copies of Tax Guide for Individuals for free to taxpayers in the United States. This is a strictly messaging bill that is passed, wouldn’t even make distribution of the guide a requirement.
  • H.R. 4903 would address the issue of political intimidation by the IRS by denying the agency the ability to go after Americans who exercise their First Amendment right to free speech.
  • H.R. 4885, the IRS Oversight While Eliminating Spending (OWES) Act of 2016. The IRS collects millions of dollars in user fees. This legislation would require that those fees go to the general fund of the Treasury, preventing the IRS from using these fees to enforce the mandates in Obamacare.
  • H.R. 1206, the No Hires for the Delinquent IRS Act, would keep the IRS from hiring more employees until no current employee of the IRS has a seriously delinquent tax debt.
  • H.R. 3724, the Ensuring Integrity in the IRS Workforce Act of 2015 would keep the IRS from rehiring someone who had worked for IRS but was let go from the agency for misconduct or cause.
  • H.R. 4890 would suspend payment of bonuses to employees of the IRS until the Secretary of the Treasury develops and implements a comprehensive customer service strategy.

The House will continue to work on a path forward to deal with Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis on the committee level. Last week the House Natural Resources Committee was scheduled to mark up a bill on the matter, but the markup was postponed over issues with the draft bill.

Senate

The Senate will try and pass the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill this week. FreedomWorks had issued a key vote alert about the bill. There had been talk that expiring renewable energy tax provisions would be added to the bill. The FreedomWorks key vote alert made clear that we opposed this attempt at crony capitalism, and would score against such an amendment and final passage of the bill if this language was included. Last week Senate leadership indicated that these provisions would not be part of the bill. FreedomWorks will continue to monitor the bill as it moves to final passage this week to make sure that this corporate goodie isn’t included in the bill.

Also this week, the Senate plans to take up S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act. FreedomWorks issued a key vote alert against the bill in January of this year. The bill expanded the role of the federal government in the energy sector. We will be following floor proceedings on this bill. There is expected to be some procedural maneuvering on the legislation to allow amendments to be considered. Separately, the Senate is also expected to take up the Energy and Water appropriations bill, which FreedomWorks will be monitoring.