The Senate on Saturday voted 56-40 to pass the $1.1 trillion “cromnibus” appropriations package. The House cleared the bill last Thursday.
The spending bill passed despite objections from Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT), who advocated for completely defunding the Department of Homeland Security. The point of order raised against the bill by Cruz failed with 20 Senators opposing him.
The “cromnibus” includes an omnibus of 11 appropriations bills funding all but one branch of the government through September 30, 2015; and a continuing resolution funding the Department of Homeland Security through February 27, 2015. Moving forward, the February timeframe for finalizing DHS funding will provide the new Republican-controlled Congress with time to decide how to dismantle President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
The president signed the appropriations bill into law on Tuesday evening.
Last Friday evening, the Senate voted 89-11 to pass the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), sending the measure to the president for signature.
The House passed the bill by a wide margin the week before, making it the 53rd year in a row Congress has approved this legislation.
Online Sales Tax
After failing to move online sales tax legislation during the lame duck session, retail groups are planning a re-vamped approach for the GOP-led 114th Congress.
Advocates for an online sales tax measure are hoping to focus more on the House in 2015. The Senate has proven their support for a bill that would give states more power to collect sales taxes from out-of-state residents with the passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act (S. 743) last year.
Supporters and opponents say the measure that passed the Senate last May will have to change to make it through the next Congress. Since the House has been more skeptical of the measure, many think it is a better strategy to have them take the lead.
House Republican supporters of online sales tax legislation met with Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) earlier this month to push their case. While Boehner declined to bring up any measure this year, GOP supporters say the Speaker is open to passing legislation next year and that they won’t be as passive in pushing for action.
The Senate voted 76-16 to clear a $41.6 billion package of temporary tax breaks on Tuesday, sending the legislation to President Obama in one of the last moves of this Congress. The measure (H.R. 5771) would extend more than four dozen tax breaks for both businesses and individuals just through 2014.
The tax breaks are both large and small and include the research and development credit for business, deductions for state sales taxes, and an extension of the Production Tax Credit, a major provision helping the wind power industry.
After negotiations on a broader bipartisan package fell through earlier this month, members settled on a one-year deal. Many lawmakers are pledging to revive plans to build a long-term package next Congress into an ambitious tax overhaul effort.
The House left town last week and the Senate adjourned Wednesday night for the holiday break, ending the 113th Congress. The 114th Congress will convene on January 6, 2015 with Republicans in control of both chambers.
The next Weekly Legislative Update will cover the week of January 6-9 when Congress returns. Hope everyone has a safe, and happy holiday!