House passes budget deal. The chamber passed the $320 billion spending and debt ceiling suspension deal by a vote of 284-149. House Democratic leaders were confident that the deal would pass. The Senate expects to take up the measure next week and hopes to send it to President Trump for his signature before they depart for their August recess.
The House also passed the PRIDE Act this week. The bill would update the tax code to provide equal treatment for same-sex married couples. It removes gender-specific references to marriage in the tax code. It would also allow same-sex couples who married before the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013 to amend their filing status on their tax returns in years beyond the statute of limitations.
Also this week: McConnell and Paul introduced the AGED Spirits Act. The Advancing Growth in the Economy through Distilled Spirts Act makes permanent, for some, a tax break for brewers, distillers, and winemakers enacted under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Under the bill, Kentucky bourbon makers can deduct interest expenses related to inventories in the year they are paid.
Can federal courts stop the House Ways & Means Committee from getting the president’s state tax returns? The tax-writing panel filed a brief yesterday arguing that the courts do not have the power to prevent it from using the New York State law that allows it to obtain the returns. The committee argues that it is immune from a court challenge under the Constitution’s speech or debate clause. Meanwhile, the judge initially assigned to hearing President Trump’s lawsuit on the matter decided late yesterday to reassign the case.
Chinese firms seek to import more US agricultural goods. China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a press conference yesterday that Chinese companies are willing to import more US agricultural goods. The announcement may pave the way to smoother trade talks next week between Chinese and US officials in Shanghai.
Minnesota gave some cities special permission to levy local sales tax. Now what? The Star Tribune considers four suburbs outside Minneapolis that just enacted their own taxes. City officials had asked for years for state permission to levy such taxes, and they finally got it — perhaps in part because of a higher number of freshman lawmakers in the state legislature. Before getting permission from the legislature, voters in each suburb approved the change; after getting the legislature’s approval, the city councils had to adopt and forward proof of the tax to the state Department of Revenue, which administers the tax. The cities now have a way to raise revenue without raising property taxes, But they also have to hope that shoppers don’t decide to spend their money in neighboring, lower-tax towns.
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