In this episode, we look at the bills that passed the House of Representatives in July but haven’t yet become law. Topics include tax cuts, student loans, education, Hezbollah, and pesticides in our water.
H.R. 4718 Permanent Bonus Depreciation Tax Cut
- Brings back a tax cut that expired on December 31, 2013 and makes it permanent. The cut they want to make permanent is for upgrading the inside of retail stores.
- Expands the tax cuts to include deductions for “trees and vines bearing fruits and nuts”.
- Gives corporations more choices about how they’d like to get taxed.
- The effects of this bill won’t be counted in the PAYGO budget.
- CBO Score: “Enacting H.R. 4718 would reduce revenues, thus increasing federal budget deficits, by about $287 billion over the 2014-2024 period.”
- Article: New Estimate Puts Rising Big Dig Costs at $24.3 billion. July 2012.
The bills passed the House of Representatives on July 11 by a vote of 258-160. Only two Republicans voted against it:
H.R. 4195 Federal Register Modernization Act
- Says that copies of the Federal Registrar don’t need to be printed on paper.
- CBO Score: It would have no effect on the Federal budget.
Passed the House of Representatives on July 14 by a vote of 386-0.
H.R. 4719 America Gives More Act of 2014
- Eliminates the tax deduction for donating stuffed actual animals to charity.
- Increases the charitable deduction limit for food donations from 10% of a person’s net income to 15%.
- Charitable donations that exceed the cap can be carried over for five years.
- This would be effective for 2014 taxes.
- Makes permanent a tax cut that expired in 2013 for charitable contributions direct from retirement funds.
- Makes permanent tax credits for charitable donations towards conservation and tax credits for corporate farmers and ranchers.
- Allows people to claim charity deductions for a year that is over if the donation happens before tax day.
- Cuts the excise tax rate for private foundations investment income in half.
- The effects of this bill the budget will not be counted in the PAYGO budget.
- CBO Score: “enacting H.R. 4719 would reduce revenues, thus increasing federal budget deficits, by about $1.9 billion over the 2014-2024 period”
The bill passed the House of Representatives on July 17 by a vote of 277-130.
H.R. 4450 Travel Promotion, Enhancement, and Modernization Act of 2014
- Changes the board of directors of Brand USA – a non-profit organization that advertises U.S. tourism – from being made up of travel industry specialists to one made up of entirely of executives, with five seats reserved for people with ties to multinational corporations. It eliminates the seat for the specialist in intercity passenger rail.
- Extends the authorization for the government to spend $100 million per year on Brand USA through 2020.
- Extends the Travel Promotion Fee – a $10 fee charged to people who get a visa to travel into the United States – until 2020.
- CBO Score: The bill would decrease the deficit by $231 million over the next ten years.
Passed the House of Representatives on July 22 by a vote of 347-57
H.R. 4411 Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2014
- Prohibits United States banks from completing large financial transactions for Hezbollah.
- The worst penalty for completing a Hezbollah transaction can be for twice the amount of the transaction.
- This won’t apply to “authorized intelligence activities of the United States”
- The bill is paid for by reducing our yearly financial gift to Pakistan by $3 million.
The bill passed the House of Representatives on July 22 by a vote of 404-0.
H.R. 3136 Advancing Competency-Based Education Demonstration Project Act of 2014
- Authorizes a maximum of 30 “entities” to launch demonstration projects of “competency-based” education programs, which would replace credit hours as the system of measurement to get a degree.
- Schools that participate would be exempted all kinds of existing educational regulations.
- Projects that reduce the amount of time and/or money required to get a degree would be prioritized.
- The only restriction to make a school eligible is that it has to be in the United States.
- Each demonstration project would have between 50 and 3,000 students. After the program has been around awhile, that number can be increased to 5,000.
The bill passed the House of Representatives on July 23 by a vote of 414-0.
Representatives Quoted in This Segment
Video Shared in This Segment
H.R. 4984 Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act
- Mandates that schools make sure that students know and understand the terms and conditions of their Federal student loans every year by using either in-person counseling sessions or online.
- Students must be told that Federal loans usually have better terms and conditions than private loans.
- Students will get another counseling session to explain their loan status and the consequences of failing to re-pay it as they leave college.
The bill passed on July 24 by a vote of 405-11. All Democrats voted yes.
H.R. 3393 Student and Family Tax Simplification Act
- Permanently extends a tax credit for college expenses that is scheduled to expire in 2017.
- The tax credit and eligibility numbers would increase with inflation starting in 2018.
- Includes the text of H.R. 4935: The Child Tax Credit Improvement Act and prohibits the effects of that bill on the budget from being counted.
- The effects this would have on the budget would not be counted.
- CBO Score: The bill would increase the deficit by $96.5 billion over the next ten years.
Passed the House of Representatives on July 24 by a vote of 227-187
H.R. 4935 Child Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2014
- Increases the amount of money a family is allowed to make and still claim the child tax credit. Currently, married people can make $110,000; this bill would increase that to $150,000. Single people can make $55,000, which would increase to $75,000.
- Increases the tax credit with inflation starting in 2015.
- CBO Score: The bill would increase the deficit by about $115 billion over the next 10 years.
The bill passed on July 25 by a vote of 237-173
H.R. 935 Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2014
- Prohibits States from requiring permits to dump pesticides into oceans and rivers as long as the pesticide is legal to sell.
The bill passed on July 31 by a vote of 267-161. The bill failed to pass three days prior as an uncontroversial “suspension” bill. All Republicans voted yes.