CD159: Crisis Management

Natural disasters: They just keep coming. In this episode, learn about the disaster relief bill that will soon be law, get an update from Puerto Rico from a member of the Coast Guard, and look into a few new laws that included disaster relief provisions with special guests Jessica Rhodes and Margy Feldhuhn.

Also, get the scoop on the existential crisis that Congressional Dish has been experiencing and get a preview of exciting new changes coming soon to your favorite Congress-focused podcast.


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Bills Outline

H.R. 3823: Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017

Title I: Federal Aviation Programs & Title II: Aviation Revenue Provisions

  • Authorizes funding for Federal Aviation Administration projects and operations through March 31, 2018

Title III: Expiring Health Provisions

Title V: Tax Relief for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria

  • If people affected by the hurricanes want to withdraw up to $100,000 before January 1, 2019 from their retirement accounts, the 10% tax on early withdrawals from retirement plans will not apply.
    • The money can be repaid within 3 years
    • People with employer plans can get loans from the retirement funds for up to $100,000 (double the usual amount) until December 31, 2018. They will get an extra year to pay it back.
  • Allows employers whose employees were affected by the hurricanes to get a 40% tax credit for wages paid to employees who couldn’t work up to $6,000 per person
  • Current law allows tax deductions for charitable contributions to churches, private organizations, hospitals, & other organizations as long as these don’t make up more than 50% of that person’s charitable donations for the year. This is waived until the end of 2017 for donations made for Harvey, Irma, and Maria relief.
    • This will not be waived if the donation is to a private foundation or to a new fund

Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico

  • The Secretary of the Treasury will give the US Virgin Islands money equal to their revenue losses from the hurricane. The government of the US Virgin Islands will determine the amount
  • Puerto Rico will be given money based on estimates made by the Secretary of the Treasury for what Puerto Rico would have been given if they had the same tax code. Puerto Rico will not be given the money until Puerto Rico submits a plan that is approved by the Secretary of the Treasury for distributing the payments to the residents.

S. 1866: Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria Education Relief Act of 2017


H.R. 2266: Bankruptcy Judgeship Act of 2017 (and the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act of 2017)

Division A: Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act of 2017

  • Appropriates $18.67 billion to the DHS and FEMA for their disaster relief fund
    • $4.9 billion will be for loans to local governments to provide essential services needed as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, or Maria
  • Appropriates $526.5 million to the Department of Agriculture and the Forest Service for fire suppression
  • Cancels $16 billion of National Flood Insurance Program debt
  • Appropriates $1.27 billion for food for Puerto Rico

Division B: Bankruptcy Judgeship Act of 2017

  • Changes how bankruptcy court judges are appointed and raises some fees.

Passed the House of Representatives on October 12, 2017 by a vote of 353-69


Additional Reading


References


Sound Clip Sources

Interview: House Republican accuses media of inventing Puerto Rico crisis, October 12, 2017.
Press Briefing: Trump contrasts Puerto Rico death toll to ‘a real catastrophe like Katrina’, CNN Politics, October 3, 2017.
Podcast: 105 Stats Follow Up and Apple Podcasts Feed Tags, Libsyn’s The Feed, September 30, 2017.
Press Briefing: President Trump Remarks on Health Care and Tax Cuts, September 27, 2017.
YouTube Live Stream: 9.27.17-Demand Immediate Assistance for Puerto Rico, The Broad-Cast, September 27, 2017.
Song: The Apprentice Theme Song, For the Love of Money, lyrics by The Ojays.

Music Presented in this Episode


Cover Art

Design by Only Child Imaginations

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