Restoring The Senate

‘A Congress That Worked’ -- From Highways, To The ‘Doc Fix,’ To Tax Relief For Families And Businesses, Progress For The American People

SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “[R]estoring the Senate is the right thing to do. And it’s the practical thing to do. Because we’re only going to pass meaningful legislation if members from both parties are given a stake in the outcome. That’s the genius of regular order. That’s the genius of the Senate.” (Sen. McConnell, Press Release, 1/7/15)

“Beneath The Battles, A Congress That Worked … In its first year, the 114th Congress solved big, entrenched problems…” (“Beneath The Battles, A Congress That Worked,” National Journal, 12/18/15)


TAX RELIEF: Breaking ‘Congress’ Habit Of Extending Lapsed Tax Breaks Retroactively’

“…on track to win permanent renewal of tax breaks for individuals and businesses.” (“Winners, Losers In Congress' Year-End Budget And Tax Endgame,” AP, 12/16/15)

“…businesses seeking permanent tax breaks are the big winners as lawmakers finalize the sprawling, last-train-leaving-Congress spending and tax deal.” (“Winners, Losers In Congress' Year-End Budget And Tax Endgame,” AP, 12/16/15)

“The tax bill would permanently extend nearly two dozen tax breaks for businesses and individuals while temporarily extending others. … The credits being permanently extended include:

  • An expanded Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income earners;
  • The Child Tax Credit for low and moderate income workers;
  • The American Opportunity Tax Credit to help students under age 40 pay college tuition and expenses;
  • Low income housing credits;
  • An expanded research and experimentation credit;
  • Section 179 business expensing, which allows businesses to fully deduct the price of equipment and software investments;
  • State and local sales tax deduction;
  • Tax deductions for food inventory donated to food banks;
  • A deduction for land donated for conservation; and
  • A tax break for individuals to donate to charity from qualified retirement accounts.”

(“Congress Reaches Year-End Deal On Taxes And Spending,” Washington Post, 12/15/15)


HIGHWAY Bill: First Long-Term Bill Since 2005, Longest Since 1998

‘A Legislative Coup A Decade In The Making’

“Lo and behold, Congress has delivered a long-term highway bill. It is practically a holiday miracle.” (“Highway Bill Offers A Seasonal Display Of Congressional Unity,” The New York Times, 12/5/15)

SEN. JIM INHOFE (R-OK): “Passing a long-term highway bill has been my top priority as chairman of the Senate EPW committee, and I’ve been pleased to work alongside my colleagues to make this historic piece of legislation a reality. This bill will provide the long overdue investments needed to put America back on the map as a place to do business.” (Sen. Inhofe, Press Release, 12/1/15)

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D-CA): “…I believe it is a major accomplishment for our people who expect us to fund a top-notch transportation system.” (“Congress Reaches Deal On 5-Year Transportation Bill,” AP, 12/1/15)

  • “…the overwhelming consensus is that the final product is broadly palatable and a big win for a Congress that has struggled for so many years to provide a steady stream of funding for the Highway Trust Fund.” (Politico’s “Morning Transportation,” 12/2/15)

“Congress reaches deal on 5-year highway bill …a legislative coup a decade in the making… delivering a long-term, fully funded highway and transit bill to the White House would be a major coup — the first time Congress has accomplished the feat since George W. Bush was in the White House.” (“Congress Reaches Deal On 5-Year Highway Bill,” Politico, 12/1/15)

  • “…legislative feat that lawmakers and President Barack Obama have struggled throughout his administration to achieve. The bill, unveiled Tuesday, would also put an end to the cycle of temporary extensions and threatened shutdowns of transportation programs that have bedeviled Congress for the past seven years, making it difficult for states to plan long-term projects.” (“Congress Reaches Deal On 5-Year Transportation Bill,” AP, 12/1/15)


MEDICARE REFORM: ‘End Of “Doc Fix” Debacle’

‘Senators … Clamoring For Entitlement Reform Should Welcome These Changes’

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R-UT): “The bill also represents a step forward in the effort to reform our nation's entitlement programs. The bill contains bipartisan reforms to the Medicare program - and it's not limited to fixing the broken SGR system. To go along with the permanent SGR fix, the bill includes a meaningful down payment on Medicare reform, without any accompanying tax hikes. These reforms include a limitation on so-called Medigap first-dollar coverage, more robust means testing for Medicare Parts B and D, and program integrity provisions that will strengthen Medicare's ability to fight fraud. …any Senators who, like me, have been clamoring for entitlement reform should welcome these changes.” (Sen. Hatch, Press Release, 4/13/15)

“The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a $200 billion Medicare reform package that will end a two-decade-old headache for Congress known as the ‘doc fix.’ The rare bipartisan bill, which passed 92-8, marks one of the biggest achievements yet from the newly GOP-controlled Congress. It will now head to President Obama, who has promised to sign the bill.” (“Senate Overwhelmingly Approves 'Doc Fix,'” The Hill, 4/14/15)

  • “Doc-Fixed: With repeal of Medicare formula, Congress formally ends dilemma that vexed Washington for more than a decade.” (“Doc-Fixed,” The Hill, 4/16/15)
  • “Washington hails end of 'doc fix' debacle: That year [2002] - when a gallon of gas cost $1.10 and ‘American Idol’ was starting its initial season - was the first that Congress confronted what would soon become an annual headache: the sustainable growth rate (SGR). Starting the next year, Congress passed a temporary patch to prevent the cuts. Then it did it 16 more times, through 2014. That succession of measures passed hurriedly under deadline… ended Tuesday night when the Senate sent a bill repealing the SGR to President Obama.” (“Washington Hails End Of 'Doc Fix' Debacle,” The Hill, 4/16/15)



Related Issues: Restoring the Senate, Taxes, Back to Work, Infrastructure, Entitlement Reform, Highway Bill, Health Care