On the Hill today… The Senate plans to vote on a continuing resolution to fund the government from October 1 through December 11. The continuing resolution includes a provision to defund Planned Parenthood, a move that could actually cost $130 million over 10 years because the government would have to pay for more unplanned births, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Senate Democrats will likely vote against the measure and expect that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduces a “clean” continuing resolution without such a provision. This could set the Senate up for a working weekend. The deadline for getting a budget to prevent a government shutdown remains, as ever, September 30.
Next week on the Hill, a look at improper payments. The Senate Finance Committee plans to examine improper payments from Medicare, Medicaid and the Earned Income Tax Credit. In fiscal year 2014, the government paid out an estimated $125 billion in error, three-fourths of which was for the three programs. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro will testify at next Thursday’s hearing.
Another plan for a flat tax, this time from Rick Santorum. The GOP presidential hopeful spent some time in Urbandale, Iowa, touting his plan for a flat 20 percent tax on personal, corporate, capital gains and other income. He says the plan will be revenue neutral, while providing providing a “pre-bate” tax credit of up to $3,000 per taxpayer and maintaining deductions for home mortgage interest and charitable contributions. Santorum would, however, eliminate the deductibility of state and local taxes. The plan is a departure from the plan he proposed as a candidate in 2012.
An effort to clean up tax subsidies for clean energy could be even… cleaner. TPC’s Howard Gleckman explains Senate Democrats’ effort to simplify tax breaks for energy efficiency and reduced carbon emissions. But he concludes, “There is a better and even simpler way to use the revenue code to cut consumption of fossil fuels. Congress could haul all these energy tax subsidies to the dumpster and, instead, pass a carbon tax. Done right, it could help reduce the budget deficit, protect low-income households from higher energy costs, and even cut tax rates.”
Russia needs revenue… but where should it get it? The Finance Ministry says a new oil-extraction formula could bring in an additional $9 billion next year, but the Economy Ministry says the tax increase might hurt oil production. Meanwhile, Russia faces its first recession in six years.
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