ways and means committee

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The Republican health care bill just cleared its first hurdle in the House

  • The GOP’s proposed bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee in a 23-16 vote after a grueling 18-hour session that lasted into early Thursday morning. 
  • The House Energy Commerce Committee, which also began debating the bill on Wednesday, is reportedly still in session nearly 24 hours later, CNN reported. 
  • Republicans hoped the bill would breeze through their majority-held House and Senate, according to CNN. 
  • But the proposal has drawn sharp rebuke from lawmakers and special interest groups on both sides of the aisle. Read more (3/9/17 10:51 AM)
Republicans just took their first big step to replace Obamacare
The health care bill passed committee after a marathon debate. It took 18 hours for the House Ways and Means Committee to pass the Republican Obamacare replacement plan, the American Health Care Act, after Democrats put up a long fight. It was a marathon session, reviewing the bill’s tax provisions, which stretched into the early hours of Thursday morning. Read more
CBO released a revised estimate for Republicans’ health care plan. It somehow got worse.
The new official analysis of the American Health Care Act, taking into account recent amendments from House leadership submitted late Monday night, still shows the number of uninsured would increase by an estimated 24 million people — but this time the bill will reduce the deficit by even less. “As a result of those amendments, this estimate shows smaller savings over the next 10 years than the estimate that CBO issued on March 13 for the reconciliation recommendations of the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce,” the Congressional Budget Office reported Thursday afternoon, the same day the House of Representatives originally intended to vote on the bill. The analysis also showed that the revised bill would not fix the 15 to 20 percent increase in premiums in 2018 and 2019 estimated in the CBO score of the first bill. Read more
5-Hour Energy and sleeping legislators: inside the GOP’s all-night health care hearing
Upton tried explaining that he was there for a “committee mark-up” on a health care bill, which could possibly go as late at 1 am, which would be longer than any mark-up process he had seen in his former role chairing the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Members of Energy and Commerce, and of the House Ways and Means Committee, convened Wednesday morning for the first formal debate on the American Health Care Act, the plan put forth by congressional Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare. An octogenarian Republican dozed, frequently. Read more
CNN anchor dismisses tactics of opposition to GOP healthcare plan: 'I didn't hear better ideas coming out of the Democrats'

(“New Day” anchors Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.CNN)
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo expressed skepticism at House Democrats’ attempts to slow passage of the Republican replacement of the Affordable Care Act.

On Thursday, the CNN anchor remarked that he did not think Democrats attempts on Wednesday night to slow down the markup process in the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees were effective.

“I was watching some of it last night. I did not hear better ideas coming out of the Democrats, I did not hear them scrutinizing the plan with facts and figures. They were just delaying and they were just saying this is wrong. Is that the tactic?” Cuomo asked guests on Wednesday’s show.

Democrats are deliberately slowing down the new Republican bill — titled the American Healthcare Act — as Republican leadership attempts to rush the bill through before a congressional recess in April.

Regardless of House Republicans ability to push the bill through, it still faces hurdles in the Senate, where some conservatives remain opposed to the proposed tax credits to help Americans cover insurance costs.

For his part, Cuomo’s influence in political media has grown significantly over the past year.

As interest in the new administration continues to boost television ratings, subscriptions, and online traffic, Cuomo and co-host Alisyn Camerota have seen their viewership skyrocket.

As Variety noted on Wednesday, viewership is up nearly 70%, while ad revenue rose 67% over the previous year.

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More From Business Insider
Republicans’ rushed health bill is everything they said they hated about Obamacare
At 4:30 am Thursday, after a 17-hour markup, the GOP’s health bill passed out of the Ways and Means Committee untouched. The American Health Care Act passed out of committee exactly 58.5 hours after it was introduced on Monday evening. The committee voted in the bill’s favor without knowing how much it costs or whom it covers because they voted before the Congressional Budget Office — or any other credible authority — had time to assess the bill’s likely impacts. Read more
House Ways and Means Committee Passes IRS Reform Bills

Congress may not be moving anywhere on tax reform, but they are moving forward on IRS reform. The House Ways and Means Committee has passed several bills that add up into all the IRS reform measures addressing issues that have been in the news so much.

For starters, one of the bills prohibits IRS workers from using private email for official business.

It’s no surprise the bill was approved by the Committee in bipartisan fashion, given the IRS’ own recent history about lost emails and the importance this issue of private emails used for government business is going to have in the next election.

Other IRS reform bills approved in bipartisan fashion included one that enacts the taxpayer bill of rights and another one that streamlines the process in which an organization can apply for tax-exempt status. Another one exempts taxes on donations to tax-exempt groups.

All these bills are connected to the House Ways and Means investigations that began with an acknowledgment by the IRS that agents targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. Investigations into the actions of Lois Lerner, who has since retired, showed that she and other IRS workers had used personal email accounts to send taxpayer information.

The IRS reform bills passed by the Committee therefore tackle all these issues. In his opening statement during the markup of these bills, Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan said that the point they’re trying to make here is this:

“The IRS works for the taxpayer, not the other way around. It’s their job to make doing your taxes as easy as possible. And so the burden is on them to prove any wrongdoing. The burden is on them to protect people’s privacy. And the burden is on them to tell taxpayers their rights. That’s the attitude they should have.”…
“Now, these reforms are simply common sense. All we’re saying are things like, ‘Don’t target people because of their political beliefs. Don’t tax donations to tax-exempt groups. Don’t send taxpayer information to your private email.’

The Ways and Means Committee also passed a bill that would eliminate the estate tax. This was predictably passed along a 22-10 party line vote.

If it becomes law, it will cost the government about $269 billion in reduced tax revenue over a decade. There’s no chance of that happening until after the next elections, and it would still need Republican control of the House, Senate and White House. 

Even then, it’s not something that the new President is likely to take up as a priority. It would especially make no sense if a comprehensive tax reform bill is in the works or already approved and does not include the estate tax repeal.

Photo credit - PoliticalActivityLaw.com/flickr

Dave Camp’s Second Act – PwC Senior Policy Advisor

Former U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp has landed a new gig as a senior policy advisor for PwC US.

To be specific, private citizen Dave Camp is now the senior policy advisor for PwC’s Washington National Tax Services practice.

Chairman Camp, the driving force behind tax reform in Congress for the last four years, gave up his perch and retired from Congress earlier this year after 24 years in the House.

In December 2014, he introduced the Tax Reform Act of 2014, the most comprehensive tax reform proposal since the mid-1980s. Any tax reform proposal which Congress takes up now is bound to based in large part on this bill.

He was also a member of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) for six years, serving as Chairman in 2011 and 2013 and Vice Chairman in 2012 and 2014.

He was also a part of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, created in February 2010 to identify policies to improve the U.S. fiscal situation after the deep economic downturn.

While on this Commission, Chairman Camp co-led the Tax Reform Working Group and subsequently was one of 12 members of the bipartisan Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, formed in 2011.

His last days in Congress were a bit bitter-sweet as Congress failed to take up comprehensive tax reform and made a bad situation worse through the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 by passing a one-year retroactive extension for expired tax breaks that expired again immediately the same month.

It’s entirely possible that Dave Camp may be able to weigh in with more impact in his role at PwC where he is expected to provide his perspective to PwC clients on important federal policy issues, including tax reform, the economy and the impact of proposed policy changes on businesses.

Bob Moritz, chairman and senior partner of PwC US, said in a statement that “Dave Camp is a luminary in his field, and we are honored that he has chosen to join PwC. His commitment to removing barriers to trade and ability to work on a bipartisan basis resulted in the enactment of significant trade agreements.  His vision regarding the critical need for tax reform as the catalyst for U.S. competitiveness has paved the way for the changes our economy needs over the next few years.”

Photo credit – house.gov