Congress

House Tax Plan May Kill Deduction Taken by 95% of Itemizers

The tax plan the House Ways and Means Committee will release on Wednesday may eliminate the federal income tax deduction that people are currently permitted to take for the state and local income or sales taxes they have paid. That deduction, according to the latest Internal Revenue Service data, was taken by 42,502,130 tax filers—or 95 percent of the 44,671,840 tax filers who itemized their deductions in tax year 2015. The deduction allowed those 42,502,130 tax filers to reduce their federal taxable income for 2015 by a combined $351,163,796,000. The tax reform framework that the White House, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee agreed to in September said the tax plan it envisions “eliminates most itemized deductions, but retains tax incentives for home mortgage interest and charitable contributions.” It did not say it would retain the deduction for state and local income and sales taxes.

Nor should it.  We need to get to a “flatter,” fairer income tax, as long as we have it.  For more, click on the text above.

House narrowly passes Senate budget in Republican quest for tax reform

The House voted Thursday to adopt the Senate’s budget blueprint in whole, officially kicking off a monthslong sprint to pass a massive overhaul of the tax code and have something to show to voters by next year’s elections. The plan allows for up to $1.5 trillion in new tax cuts as part of the overhaul, giving lawmakers far more room than the original House budget — but also leaving them open to accusations that they’re ruining the government’s finances in the quest for tax reform. House members voted 216-212 to approve the budget, which also sets out fiscal year 2018 discretionary spending levels at about $1 trillion, and envisions deficits of $641 billion this year. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, the House’s top tax-writer, said the plan is now to release a tax bill next Wednesday, Nov. 1, and start marking it up in committee the following week. “Today is a historic day — and we are ready to deliver tax relief that improves the lives of middle-income Americans and struggling families who have been left behind in our slow-growing economy,” said Mr. Brady, Texas Republican. House GOP leaders pushed the Senate budget through rather than spend weeks hammering out a compromise with the Senate, figuring it was more important to build momentum for tax reform than to argue over specific numbers in the plan. “This budget acknowledges that our economy is in desperate need of a jolt, and the tax cuts included in the Senate-passed budget hold the promise of doing just that,” said Rep. Diane Black, who chairs the House Budget Committee. “President Trump is with us on this, and I agree that we must move quickly,” said Mrs. Black, Tennessee Republican. In a signal of the vote’s importance, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan voted “yes,” even though the speaker typically abstains. Mr. Ryan also eyed the chamber’s giant boards displaying how all the members voted as Republicans approached the magic number to get them over the hump. The White House cheered the vote, saying it sets the stage for Congress to ultimately pass tax cuts and tax reform. “President Trump has always made cutting taxes for hard-working American families, creating more jobs for American workers, and simplifying the rigged and burdensome tax code a priority, and he looks forward to further cooperation with Congress to advance the administration’s pro-growth and pro-jobs agenda,” said press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

This is a HUGE step.  But, only a step.  We’ll, of course, take it….for now.    🙂

GOP Congress Presides Over Highest Spending Since Obama’s Stimulus

Real federal spending in fiscal 2017, which ended on Sept. 30, was higher than in any year in the history of the United States other than fiscal 2009, which was the year that President Barack Obama’s $840 billion stimulus law was enacted. Fiscal 2017 also saw the second highest real federal individual income tax totals of any year in U.S. history, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today. Total federal tax revenues were the third highest in U.S. history. While it was collecting the third highest total tax revenues in U.S. history, the federal government ran a deficit $665,712,000 because of its high total spending. Republicans have controlled the House of Representatives since 2011, after winning a majority of seats in the 2010 election. They have controlled the Senate since 2015, after winning a majority in the 2014 election. In fiscal years 2016 and 2017, a Congress in which the Republican Party controls both houses was responsible for enacting all federal spending legislation. Total federal spending in fiscal 2017, according to the Treasury, was $3,980,605,000,000. Total federal tax revenue was $3,314,893,000. Prior to this year, the highest level of real federal spending was the $4,024,794,600,000 in constant 2017 dollars (adjusted using the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator) that the Treasury spent in fiscal 2009. In the years after 2009, real federal spenpding hit its lowest level ($3,633,572,490,000 in constant 2017 dollars) in fiscal 2014. In fiscal years 2015, 2016, and 2017 federal spending has been on the rise again—reaching this year’s $3,980,605,000,000, the second highest spending level in the nation’s history. On the tax side, federal individual income taxes hit their all-time peak in fiscal 2015, when the Treasury took in $1,598,265,180,000 in constant 2017 dollars in individual income taxes. In fiscal 2016, individual income tax collections dropped to $1,580,598,300,000 in 2017 dollars. Then, in fiscal 2017, individual income tax collections climbed back up to $1,587,119,000,000, the second largest sum in individual income taxes the federal government has ever collected. Total federal tax revenue also peaked in 2015 at $3,369,881,960,000 in 2017 dollars. It then dropped to $3,339,631,960,000 in fiscal 2016, and dropped again to $3,314,894,000,000 in fiscal 2017. According to a study by the Congressional Budget Office, the largest budgetary impact of President Obama’s 2009 stimulus law hit in fiscal 2010, which began on Oct. 1, 2009. The three first fiscal years under the law–2009, 2011, 2012–saw the biggest spending increases from it. “By CBO’s estimate, close to half the impact occurred in fiscal 2010, and more than 95 percent of ARRA’s budgetary impact was realized by the end of December 2014.” According to the CBO, Obama’s stimulus increased federal spending by $114 billion in fiscal 2009, $235 billion in fiscal 2010, and $147 billion in fiscal 2011. In fiscal 2012, the spending increase caused by the stimulus dropped to $59 billion. The CBO estimates that in the four fiscal years from 2016 through 2019, the Obama stimulus will only add a total of $28 billion to federal spending.

Federal court upholds prayer in Congress

A federal court ruled Wednesday that Congress can continue to open its sessions each day with a prayer, and upheld the House’s ability to pick and choose who’s allowed to lead the prayer. U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, a Bush appointee who sits in Washington, D.C., rejected a challenge by Daniel Barker, co-president of Freedom From Religion Foundation, who said he was not permitted to give an opening invocation, even though other guest chaplains have been permitted. Judge Collyer said House rules didn’t permit him to lead the prayer because he had left his faith. Judge Collyer also said an opening prayer has been a tradition in this country for more than two centuries, and the Supreme Court has ruled it doesn’t violate the Establishment Clause. “To decide that Mr. Barker was discriminated against and should be permitted to address the House would be to disregard the Supreme Court precedent that permits legislative prayer,” Judge Collyer wrote in her opinion on Wednesday. Mr. Barker said her ruling was tainted by personal bias against nonreligious people. “The judge’s acquiescence in this inequity sends a crystal clear message that our government, founded upon our entirely secular Constitution, may discriminate with impunity against atheists and freethinkers,” he said. But House Speaker Paul D. Ryan applauded the ruling. “Since the first session of the Continental Congress, our nation’s legislature has opened with a prayer to God. Today, that tradition was upheld and the freedom to exercise religion was vindicated,” said Mr. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican. He added the return of Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, Louisiana Republican, who was shot earlier this year by a left wing zealot, reminded Congress of the power of prayer.

Indeed..  This ruling was spot on, and with precedent from the Supreme Court.  This idiot from FFRF got slapped down, and rightfully so.  This is a small, yet important, victory for religious freedom, and for freedom of speech.  As we’ve documented on numerous occasions here at The Daily Buzz… The whole notion of a “separation of church and state” is bs.  There is no such thing.  That phrase originated in a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to the members of a church where he raised the idea in a philosophical sense.  That’s it.  Nowhere in our founding legal documents (i.e. The U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, etc.) is that phrase found.   Our founders intended freedom OF religion; NOT freedom FROM religion.  Kudos to Judge Collyer for her spot-on analysis, and excellent ruling!

House Committee Approves $10B for Border Wall

The House Homeland Security Committee approved a $10 billion funding package for President Donald Trump’s promised border wall construction. The bill could be attached to legislation being debated to replace President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). “We have been talking about border security for many years. Now that we finally have a partner in the White House who has prioritized this issue, it’s time for Congress to do its part and get the job done,” Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul said in a written statement. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in both chambers to get this bill to the President’s desk so we can finally provide the American people with the security they have long demanded and deserve.” “The U.S. Constitution enumerates Congress’ authority to provide for the common defense of our nation,” Chairman McCaul continued. “Today the Committee passed legislation that will protect our homeland by strengthening the security of our borders. This is a 21st Century, multi-layered approach, which authorizes $10 billion for the construction of a border wall, $5 billion for the modernization of our ports of entry, provides other tactical infrastructure and cutting-edge technology, puts more boots on the ground, and better empowers the Department of Homeland Security’s Secretary to take other necessary actions to secure the border.” The provision funding the construction of the president’s promised border wall came as part of a border security spending proposal that will reimburse states for up to $35 million for their costs of using National Guard troops to supplement border security efforts in their state, The Hill reported. It also includes $5 billion to increase security at ports of entry. Democrats expressed their displeasure with the committee’s attempt to secure the nation’s border with Mexico. The committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) attempted to change the name of the bill to the “Taking Americans’ Land to Build Trump’s Wall Act of 2017.” That proposal failed. Texas Democrat Rep. Filemon Vela attempted to attack snarky amendments that included adding the terms “big and beautiful,” “real,” “inclusive of a door,” and “paid for by the Mexican Government.” Those amendments also failed. “I appreciate the gentleman’s creativity in this amendment and sense of humor, but I will oppose this amendment,” Chairman McCaul responded to his fellow Texan. The Hill also reported that Democrats expressed concern that the bill is an attempt to tie border security to some type of replacement program for the executive action program, DACA. “There’s no doubt that this is a setup for that conversation,” Rep. Nannette Barragán (D-Calif.) told the committee.

We don’t want a “replacement program..”  We want to get rid of the current one!!  Kudos to this House Committee for moving forward with this.  It’s long overdue!

House passes 20-week abortion ban, with Trump White House support

The Republican-controlled House on Tuesday approved a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy — a measure backed by the Trump White House but still facing long odds in the Senate. The measure passed 237 to 189. “So often we get caught up in the policies of this issue and we forget that these are babies, for goodness sake,” Alabama Republican Rep. Martha Roby said in a speech on the House floor. “They feel pain and we need to protect them.” The measure faced strong opposition from abortion-rights lawmakers. “When abortion is banned, it does not go away,” Oregon Democratic Rep. Suzanne Bonamici said on the floor before the vote. “It drives women to unsafe back alleys and to dangerous self-induced abortion.” The White House said Monday that it “strongly supports” the efforts to “secure critical pro-life protections” and that the bill provides children with the “stronger protections” they deserve. “The bill, if enacted into law, would help to facilitate the culture of life to which our Nation aspires,” the White House also said in a statement. “Additionally, the bill would promote a science-based approach to unborn life, as recent advancements have revealed that the physical structures necessary to experience pain are developed within 20 weeks of fertilization.” The measure, if enacted into law, would allow the procedure after 20 weeks in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother and would not penalize women. However, it would criminalize other abortions after 20 weeks and punish abortion providers with a maximum five-year jail sentence. The landmark 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade protects women’s right to have an abortion. However, more than a dozen states now ban them after 20 weeks. “It’s science: unborn babies feel pain by at least 20 weeks. Late, dismemberment abortions are too extreme for America. #TheyFeelPain,” bill sponsor Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., tweeted ahead of the vote Monday. Franks’ bill enjoyed the support of fellow conservatives in the GOP conference and from the influential Susan B. Anthony List pro-life group. However, the bill needs the unlikely support of at least eight Democrats to pass in the narrowly GOP-controlled Senate. South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham has companion legislation that could be introduced as early as Tuesday..

For the benefit of those who are new to The Daily Buzz…  We tend to avoid the issue of abortion.  But, from time to time, we post stories like this which are potentially significant.  Unless the Supreme Court decides to over-rule itself (which is possible, but highly unlikely), abortions will continue to be legal in the United States.  But, that doesn’t mean there is an absolute right to have them on demand all they way up to, and including, so-called “partial birth abortions.”  And, this legislation seems to be a smart, science-based, common-sense approach to slightly regulate, and discourage, late-term abortions.  This legislation by no means is banning abortions, as Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) suggested.  But, that’s the kind of over-the-top, deceitful grandstanding we’ve come to expect from the radical left who have no interest in facts.  They’re just pandering to their liberal base, NOW, and Planned Parenthood.   Typical…

Republicans push gun silencer bill; Democrats fire back

Lawmakers on Tuesday debated the merits of a Republican-backed bill that would make it easier for individuals to buy gun silencers. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., introduced the measure in the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, the Hill reported. The provision calls for a less extensive and instant background check. Duncan’s bill is reportedly dubbed the Hearing Protection Act. The debate was reportedly delayed after the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., in June in a park in Arlington, Va. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., reportedly said it seems that sportsmen “have to choose between damaging their hearing and being able to hunt, shoot, target practice.” Democrats said the bill is dangerous, and would make it more difficult to determine where shots are being fired in an active-shooter situation. “We should not make it easier for anyone to obtain these weapons of war,” Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif., said, according to the report.

What a moron..   I’ve been in war, and I was never issued a suppressor!  This bill is eminently reasonable, and we support it 100%.  Despite what you may see on tv, suppressors are rarely used in criminal activity.  And, unless you live in the people’s republic of fascist California, you can readily get these things already.  This just makes the process easier, and less bureaucratic.  That’s all.  Anyway, to read the rest of this article, click on the text above.