Washington Weekly
Feb. 16, 2015

Last Week

The House passed the Senate-amended legislation, S. 1, the Keystone Pipeline Approval Act. In addition, the House made permanent two tax breaks popular with small businesses. One is 529 expensing, which is the expensing allowance for depreciable of business property. It would increase to $500,000 the expensing allowance and increase to $2,000,000 the threshold amount for such property over which the amount of the expensing allowance is reduced. The expensing of computer software and rules for the expensing of qualified real property (i.e., leasehold improvement, restaurant and retail improvement property) are also included in the passed bill. It also eliminates the exclusion of air conditioning and heating units from property eligible for the expensing allowance. It also makes permanent the tax deduction for charitable contributions of food inventory and increases from 10 to 15% of taxpayer aggregate net income the amount of deductible food inventory contributions which a taxpayer may make in any taxable year (15% of the taxable income of C corporations).

The Senate approved Ashton Carter to be Secretary of Defense by a vote of 93-5, as well as continued working on DHS funding, but have not resolved policy disagreements. More

This Week

The House and Senate are in their districts for Presidents Day recess.More

Item of Interest

"Veto - The procedure established under the Constitution by which the president refuses to approve a bill or joint resolution and thus prevents its enactment into law. A regular veto occurs when the president returns the legislation to the house in which it originated. The president usually returns a vetoed bill with a message indicating his reasons for rejecting the measure. The veto can be overridden only by a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and the House."

The House and Senate have passed legislation approving the Keystone XL Pipeline. With the Senate having passed S. 1 with 62 votes, it would need five Democrats to change their position from opposing to supporting, which does not appear likely. Because S. 1 originated in the Senate, the veto override process would also begin there. Equally unlikely it appears, is the president signing this legislation into law, but that should not be a reason to make your voice heard. Through ASA's website, Advance your Ability.com, you are able to write the president expressing your support of this measure. Don't delay; let your voice be heard today. Click here to send a message to the president. More

Power Primer: Obama Veto of Keystone is Just 1 Step
Roll Call
It looks like a refresher course is in order on how Congress handles a veto, procedurally and politically. It's been four years and four months since the last time a president rejected a bill that landed on his desk. And 243 House members, along with 54 senators, have taken office since the last time legislation was enacted despite such a veto. The most recent veto date (October 2010) is about to be eclipsed, because President Barack Obama has left no doubt he's going to return the measure approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline. More

Congress Looks to Play Small Ball on Tax Reform
The Hill
An eye toward a total overhaul of the tax code did not stop Senate lawmakers from advancing 17 different tax bills Feb. 11. Top tax writers are adamant they still want to pursue a major reworking of the tax code, but with progress hard to come by for the last several years, the Senate Finance Committee agreed to easily pass several targeted tax tweaks in the meantime.More

Freshmen Learn to Use their Voting Cards and Work to Hold on to their Hats
National Journal
As members stream into the House chamber for votes these days, the freshmen are still easy to spot. For one thing, they're on time: While veteran lawmakers tend to stroll in at their leisure, often five or 10 minutes after the yeas and nays have begun, new members are frequently spotted poking their heads in before a vote has even been called.More

Republicans Sign Keystone Bill, will Make Obama Wait on Veto
The Hill
Congressional Republicans plan to hold back legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline to prevent President Barack Obama from vetoing it while lawmakers are away from Washington. While Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, staged a signing ceremony for the bill Feb. 13, the legislation will not be sent to the White House until after the Presidents Day recess, according to a top Republican aide.More