House Democrats unveil their first bill. H.R. 1 will require US presidents to disclose their tax returns. The bill, which Democrats will introduce once they take control of the House in January, also would make it easier for citizens to vote and require political groups to disclose donors. Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi says the measure will have broad bipartisan support.
Budget drama redux. It is December so it must be time for the annual end-of-calendar year budget drama. Congress has yet to approve full-year funding for eight federal agencies and the IRS and the money is due to run out on Friday. A bipartisan deal would be fairly routine except that President Trump is threatening to shut down the government unless he gets $5 billion for his southern border wall. Which Democrats won’t give him. Will someone blink? Will Congress kick the fiscal can into the next Congress with another temporary bill? Or will Congress clean up all the money bills except for Homeland Security, which would be the vehicle for more wall squabbling?
Whither the House GOP’s last-minute tax bill? The Republican leadership unexpectedly pulled the lame-duck bill from consideration by the full House late last week because it did not have the votes to pass it. Ways & Means chair Kevin Brady said he’d bring it to the floor this week instead. But the better bet is that Republicans may try to add a few provisions on to a final budget bill. Or, perhaps, the whole thing will die a quiet end-of-session death.
Why do House Democrats want to limit their ability to raise revenue? TPC’s Howard Gleckman considers a new rule proposed by House Democrats. It would require a supermajority vote to raise individual income taxes on the lowest-earning four-fifths of taxpayers. He explains why the move is both bad politics and bad policy.
A cease-fire in the trade war with China? Trump says he’s agreed to postpone his planned January 1 tariff increase on Chinese products in return for China agreeing to purchase a “very substantial” (but unspecified) amount of US goods. The two nations also agreed to reopen talks on Chinese industrial policies such as licensing of US technology, trade secret theft, and non-tariff trade barriers. Trump insist he’ll go ahead with his previous plan to raise tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese products to 25 percent if a deal is not reached. In the past, such talks have been futile.
And maybe no more NAFTA? Trump also declared that he’ll formally terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement in an effort to pressure Congress to endorse his replacement, the United States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement. But the deal will run into opposition next year from both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Speaking of fair trades: Honeywell says thanks but good-bye to New Jersey. The Garden State offered the multinational corporation a $40 million tax incentive package three years ago in return for Honeywell basing its headquarters in Morris Plains. Now, Honeywell is moving its headquarters to North Carolina anyway. The firm says it is decamping to be near existing operations,to tap a strong talent pool, and, oh, because it is getting $46 million in subsidies from Mecklenburg County and Charlotte as well as an undisclosed incentive package from the North Carolina.
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