Before Congress adjourned for its July 4th recess, a number of House and Senate committees and subcommittees deliberated over legislation to address the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), Corporate Tax Inversions, and Tax Extenders amongst other matters including, but not limited to, the subsequent highlights:
• The Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on June 24 unveiled a measure, the Preserving America’s Transit and Highways (PATH) Bill, to raise $9 billion to temporarily bolster the HTF with modifications to heavy vehicle use taxes, distribution from inherited IRAs and a handful of other modest tax changes. However, two days later, a modified Chairman’s Mark for the PATH Bill fell short of the revenue needed. Wyden said the markup would resume during the week beginning July 7 when Congress returns from a week-long recess;
• The Ways and Means Committee approved the Student and Family Tax Simplification Bill (HR 3393) on June 25. The bill would provide a 100-percent tax credit for the first $2,000 of eligible higher education expenses and a 25-percent tax credit for the next $500 in expenses. Separately, the panel also passed the Child Tax Credit Improvement Bill of 2014 (HR 4935). The bill indexes for inflation the current $1,000 credit amount beginning in 2014 and increases the phase-out to $150,000/$75,000 for families and individuals, respectively;
• The House Appropriations Committee on June 25 approved a fiscal year (FY) 2015 appropriations bill to provide $21.3 billion in annual funding for the Treasury Department and several other agencies. The measure includes a $10.95-billion IRS budget for FY 2015, which is a cut of approximately $341 million from FY 2014. The IRS budget also includes a prohibition on purging IRS records in contravention of the Federal Records Act; and
• Two House Democratic leaders introduced legislation on June 26 that would end the practice of corporate inversions in order to shore up the federal HTF. House Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Sander M. Levin, D-Mich., introduced the Stop Corporate Expatriation and Invest in America’s Infrastructure Bill, which would generate $19.5 billion in tax revenue over 10 years and use the funds to pay for federal highway and transit spending. The legislation would send $15.6 billion to the HTF and $3.9 billion to the mass transit account in the HTF.
I highly anticipate further vetting and hopefully reconciliation of the differences between the House and Senate bills once Congress returns from being off the week of June 30th.