The House considers IRS oversight bills in time for Tax Day and celebrates 100 years of women in Congress. The Senate nears the finish line for FAA reauthorization and may take up an energy policy reform bill before the week is out.
IN THE HOUSE:
This Tax Day, the House will consider several bills related to IRS management and oversight:
This bill prohibits the IRS from hiring anyone with a seriously delinquent tax debt, i.e. a debt for which the IRS has filed a notice of lien in public record.
H.R. 3724: Ensuring Integrity in the IRS Workforce Act of 2015H.R. 4284: Service Provider Opportunity Clarification Act of 2015
Sponsor: Rep. Kristi Noem [R, SD-0]
This bill prohibits the IRS from hiring anyone who was previously employed by the IRS but removed or misconduct or cause.
H.R. 4885: IRS Oversight While Eliminating Spending (OWES) Act
Sponsor: Rep. Jason Smith [R, MO-8]
The bill requires the IRS to deposit user fees for services in the general fund of the Treasury and prohibits expenditure of the fees unless there is a Congressional appropriation.
H.R. 4890: To impose a ban on the payment of bonuses to employees of the Internal Revenue Service until the Secretary of the Treasury develops and implements a comprehensive customer service strategy
Sponsor: Rep. Patrick Meehan [R, PA-7]
The strategy must include: (1) appropriate telephone and correspondence levels of service; (2) an assessment of which services the IRS can shift to self-service options; and (3) proposals to improve customer service over the short-term, the medium-term, and the long-term.
H.R. 4903: To prohibit the use of funds by Internal Revenue Service to target citizens of the United States for exercising any right guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
Sponsor: Rep. Rick Allen [R, GA-12]
H. Res. 673: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Internal Revenue Service should provide printed copies of Internal Revenue Service Publication 17 to taxpayers in the United States free of charge
Sponsor: Rep. Glenn Grothman [R, WI-6]
This official IRS Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals, covers the general rules for filing a United States federal income tax return.
IRS Publication 17 helps identify which filing status you qualify for, whether you can claim any dependents, and whether the income you receive is taxable. It also explains the standard deduction, the kinds of expenses you may be able to deduct, and the various kinds of credits you may be able to take to reduce your tax.
Honoring 100 Years of Women in Congress
H.R. 4570: 100 Years of Women in Congress Act
Sponsor: Rep. Grace Meng [D, NY-6]
The bill would rename a STEM grant program to honor the first woman elected to Congress, Representative Jeannette Rankin from Montana.
Representative Rankin was elected on November 7, 1916, almost four years prior to ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote. Now, 100 years since the election of Jeannette Rankin, 108 women serve in the 114th Congress, more than at any other time in history.
Rankin was not only a pioneer in national electoral politics, but also a pioneer as a woman in science, graduating from the University of Montana in 1902 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. The bill renames a program providing grants for women and minorities in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) as the "Jeannette Rankin Women and Minorities in STEM Fields Program Grant."
Small Business Bills
Sponsor: Rep. Nydia Velázquez [D, NY-7]
The bill would bring consistency to the range of the anticipated value of federal procurement contracts that must be reserved exclusively for small businesses. Currently the range of the anticipated value must be between $2,500 and $100,000. Under the bill, the new threshold will be between the micro-purchase threshold ($3,000) and the simplified acquisition threshold ($100,000).
H.R. 4326: Small and Disadvantaged Business Enhancement Act of 2016
Sponsor: Rep. Alma Adams [D, NC-12]
The bill would expand the duties of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) to ensure that purchases are in compliance and have been properly recorded in the Federal Procurement Data System.
H.R. 4332: Maximizing Small Business Competition Act of 2016
Sponsor: Rep. Trent Kelly [R, MS-1]
The bill clarifies that Small Business Administration (SBA) procurement center representatives (PCRs)may review federal procurement, and attempts to ensure that contracts across the government are structured in a way that maximizes opportunities for small businesses to compete.
H.R. 3714: Small Agriculture Producer Size Standards Improvements Act of 2015
Sponsor: Rep. Mike Bost [R, IL-12]
The bill would amend the Small Business Act and require the Small Business Administration (SBA) to establish small business size standards for agricultural producers through the notice and comment rulemaking process. In contrast to the size standards established for all other industries by the SBA, the size standard for agriculture enterprises is established by statute and has not been updated in 15 years, according to the Small Business Committee.
Also in the House:
The bill provides measures for oversight of the development of a planned DHS headquarters campus for the agency in Washington, D.C.
Post Offices and Building Naming
IN THE SENATE:
The Senate will continue its work on reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration, which runs out of funding on July 15.
A cloture vote is expected on Monday on the FAA reauthorization, kicking off 30 hours of final debate before a final roll call vote later in the week.
The bill contains provisions to:
- Reauthorize FAA appropriations through the 2017 fiscal year
- Updating general aviation certification and offering the opportunity to appeal medical disqualifications
- Preserving the Essential Air Service (EAS)
- Providing for several policy changes for commercial aircraft, including: requirement to refund baggage fees if bags are lost; clarifying charges for preferred seats and policies for allowing children to be seated with parents; calling for a study on wheelchair access
- Calling for a cost-benefit update on the implementation of the NextGen air traffic and communications system.
Read Section-by-section summary
Up next in the Senate: Bipartisan Energy Bill
When the Senate finishes work on the FAA Reauthorization, it is expected to move to the bipartisan energy policy bill that was tabled last year.
The bipartisan act is spearheaded by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski [R, AK] and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell [D, WA]. The comprehensive legislation is aimed at updating the nation's power grid and oil and gas transportation systems.
According to sponsors, the bill would*:
Require electric grid operators to perform major upgrades, including building a new large-scale storage system for electricity
Define hydropower as renewable resource and streamline permits for new hydropower projects
Allow Secretary of Energy to create rebate programs to encourage the replacement of inefficient motors and transformers and provide grants for students to complete skills-training programs that promote the installation of energy efficient building technologies
Repeals the phase-out of fossil fuel use in federal buildings by 2030 (put in place by Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007)
Require permit decisions on liquefied natural gas export facilities to be made within 45 days of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) review
Direct the heads of federal agencies to reduce their building energy intensity by 2.5% per year, through 2025
Please keep in mind that highlighting a bill does not imply POPVOX endorsement in any way. As always, our goal is to offer one more way to help you stay informed about the complex U.S. legislative system.