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Both the House and Senate passed federal appropriations, ensuring government funding through FY 2015 and no shutdowns. Both passed with overwhelming majorities, with the House passing it 359-67 and the Senate passing it 72-26-2. Now both sides will be turning to increasing the debt limit, which Treasury Secretary Lew warned this week will need to be increased before the end of February rather than March, which had early been the projection. In addition, with 33 Democratic votes, the House passed legislation that would increase transparency in operation of American Health Benefit Exchanges. Specifically, it would require the secretary of Health and Human Services to publish weekly reports on the various operating elements of the Affordable Care Act. In addition to the Omnibus, the Senate also debated amendments to a flood insurance bill.
The House and Senate will be in their districts for the week.
Item of Interest
While ASA continues to remain bearish on comprehensive tax reform's success in 2014, prior to his appointment to Ambassador of China, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus produced a series of staff discussion drafts requesting comment from outside groups such as ASA. In the draft, they expanded 179 expensing, which we can support; however, it also calls for a full repeal of LIFO, something we cannot support. View our letter opposing this proposal.
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The Government's $11 Billion Jobs Program May Not Work
Figuring out the best way to put unemployed people back to work is one of the holy grails of today's political and policy debates. The federal government has spent more than $11 billion since the onset of the Great Recession in an effort to retrain workers or to give them new skills through the Workforce Investment Act. The only problem? Lawmakers do not know if that money has been well spent, or if it's even helped people.
Boehner: Obamacare Replacement Coming
Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Thursday predicted that House Republicans would unveil — and possibly vote on — a plan to replace the healthcare law in 2014, fulfilling a long-delayed promise to voters. An alternative to Obamacare will be "one of the big issues" the House GOP will discuss at its annual policy retreat at the end of the month, Boehner said.
Republicans' Love-Hate Relationship With a Tax Credit
Democrats' demands to raise the minimum wage have some Republicans flirting with an old flame. Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio, both potential 2016 presidential candidates, are turning to the earned income tax credit, or something that looks a lot like it, as an alternative way of helping lower-income workers.
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