Washington Update: Week of December 18

December 19, 2017
Washington Update

Budget & Appropriations (2017 Offering of Letters)

  • There are only THREE DAYS left until the federal government runs out of money. A deal to boost spending levels is still being negotiated.  
  • The House introduced a short-term continuing resolution (CR) that would fund defense spending but did not fund non-defense priorities or include an extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) has indicated that the House might pass the defense-only CR this week and force the Senate to accept its bill.
  • Lawmakers are also debating a reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, and a disaster aid package for areas affected by natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires.

Taxes

  • It’s likely that Republicans will have enough votes to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 this week.
  • Late Friday, Dec. 15, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) conceded his high-profile opposition after negotiators expanded the refundability cap for the child tax credit. In addition, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the only Republican to vote against the Senate version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, made the announcement that he would back the legislation as well.
  • Members of a House-Senate conference committee signed the final version of the legislation Friday, Dec. 15, sending it to the two chambers for final passage this week. We expect the legislation to pass along party lines in both the House and Senate.
  • The legislation would drop the tax rate on individuals to 37 percent from the current 39.6 percent. The standard deduction would nearly double, to $24,000 for married couples. The $1,000-per-child tax credit deduction would grow to $2,000, with up to $1,400 refundable to low-income households.
  • While the legislation helps many middle- and high-income households, 10 million children in low-income working families will only see a slight increase in the child tax credit—$75 or less. Parents would also have to provide the Social Security numbers of their children in order to receive the child tax credit.

Dream Act of 2017

  • Advocates are still pushing for Congress to pass the Dream Act of 2017, which would offer protection from deportation for “Dreamers.”
  • The legislation would also offer a pathway to citizenship for “Dreamers”—undocumented young adults brought to the United States by their parents when they were children.

Act Now!

In the next few weeks, Congress will finalize spending bills for 2018.  At stake is funding for veterans, women and children’s nutrition, and international humanitarian and development programs.

Call (800-826-3688) your representative and senators, and tell them that any funding agreement MUST fully fund veterans’ needs, women and children’s nutrition, and global humanitarian and development programs. 

You can subscribe to the content of Washington Update, delivered to you as an email, in a newsletter called Fresh Bread.

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