by Denise A. Bode & Anne C. Canfield
The first overhaul of the tax code in thirty years passed the US House of Representatives a second time after being modified and was approved by the US Senate this last week. This occurred as a result of Senate Democrats identifying several provisions that the Parliamentarian said violated the “Byrd rule.” If that wasn’t enough, the conference report was also found to violate the “PAYGO” rule. For a while, it was thought that the President would need to sign the bill after the first of the year in order not to trigger cuts in mandatory spending programs like Medicaid. As described below, a waiver was added to the stopgap spending measures that enabled the President to sign the bill on December 22nd before he left for Florida.
Congress also passed a stop-gap spending bill this past week, averting a partial government shutdown, at midnight Friday, but pushing into January final decisions on spending, immigration, health care and national security. Among the issues still to be resolved is federal aid for victims of recent hurricanes and wildfires. The House passed a separate $81 billion disaster relief bill, but the Senate did not immediately take it up amid Democratic objections.
The stopgap extends federal funding through January 19 and provides temporary extensions of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which has languished politically since it expired in October; a Veterans health-care program; and a warrantless surveillance program set to expire January 1. The stopgap spending measure passed the House 231 to 188 and cleared the Senate 66 to 32. These votes are the last in 2017. The votes came after House GOP leaders scrambled Wednesday and Thursday to gather votes to keep the government open.
Another controversial provision was also added to the House stopgap: a measure waiving mandatory cuts to entitlement programs forced by the passage of the tax bill. Without the waiver, the President was going to have to wait until 2018 to sign the tax bill. In the Senate, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a fierce advocate for lower federal spending, accused his fellow Republicans of reneging on calls to cut spending and forced a separate vote on the waiver. The waiver passed 91 to 8, averting the mandatory cuts. This made it possible for the President to sign the tax reform legislation on December 22, 2017.
Just in case you missed it, here are a few key items:
1. The links to the bill and the summary are below.
2. Property taxes can be prepaid, but not income taxes
- The final Conference Report prevents state income taxes from being prepaid. However, property taxes can be prepaid. Some municipal jurisdictions have announced that they are “open for business” and have put extra personnel on board to accept pre-paid property taxes.
ENERGY TRANSPORTATION NEWS
- USTR still looking for ‘serious engagement’ in NAFTA talks
- Grassley to ask about rumors of ‘pot of money’ for ag in case of NAFTA pullout
- OMB completes review of Clean Power Plan rulemaking
- Narrower Carbon Controls at Power Plants Considered by EPA
- Trump critics cite regulatory agenda to keep ozone suit alive
- EPA seeks long-term hold on suit over Ark. Haze plan
- States, groups seize on EPA document in ozone lawsuits
- Mont. Man wants rehearing in case over Clean Water Act scope
- Scientists sue to scrap Pruitt directive
- EPA Seeks Comments on Clean Power Plan Replacement
ENERGY REGULATORY NEWS
- Nebraska regulators deny TransCanada request on Keystone XL route
- GOP states want Trump to rein independent agencies
- DOT suggests changing ‘burdensome’ pipeline and LNG
- FERC to take ‘fresh look’ at pipeline approval policy
ENERGY POLICY NEWS
- Trump plan stresses ‘energy dominance,’ infrastructure
- Calif., New Mexico Sue U.S. for Suspending Waste Prevention Rule
ENERGY MARKET NEWS
- Oil Prices Edge Up Amid Pipeline Outage
- Tellurian plans $7 billion gas pipeline network
- Unstoppable Shale Hands U.S. Gas Bulls Worst Year Since 2014
- U.S. oil investments fall by 100 million barrels since March peak
- Peter Huntsman replacing father as Huntsman chairman
- Oil near two-week high as stockpiles fall
- Peter Tsirigotis promoted to head air quality planning office
- Carper to force White House to renominate White in 2018
- Stepp to head EPA Midwest region
- Franken to resign from Senate in January
- Former acting EPA chief to lead N.J. agency
RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS
- ADM, Monsanto Among Companies Urging Trump to Support Ethanol
- Cruz pitches 10-cent biofuel credit cap to White House
- Extending the Extenders Package Into Next Year
- Energy Developers Vie for Massachusetts Offshore Wind Projects
FROM THE CHART ROOM
CO2 Emissions Down Across the States
The United States has a diverse energy landscape that is reflected in differences in state-level emissions profiles. Between 2005 and 2015, energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions decreased in 43 states (including the District of Columbia) and increased in 8 states. On a per capita basis, energy-related CO2 emissions decreased in 49 states (including the District of Columbia) and increased in 2 states (Louisiana and Nebraska) between 2005 and 2015. EIA’s analysis measures emissions released at the location where fossil fuels are consumed. When fuels are used in one state to generate electricity that is consumed in another state, for example, emissions are attributed to the state where the generation occurs.
Energy-related CO2 emissions are the result of coal, petroleum, and natural gas consumed within a state to produce electricity (36% of U.S. total), to transport goods or people (35%), to operate industrial processes (18%), or to directly fuel equipment in residential and commercial buildings (11%). The consumption levels by fuel and by sector vary considerably by state. For example, in 2015 coal consumption accounted for 75% of energy-related CO2 emissions in West Virginia, although, in California, coal only accounted for 1% of emissions. LINK TO EIA: http://bit.ly/2z0weAO
Michael Best Strategies’ Energy Team
- Denise Bode
- Greg Brophy
- Beth Cubriel
- Andrew Cook
- Chip Englander
- Sarah Helton
- Ross Romero
- Thomas Schreibel
- Kevin Swanson
- Jeffrey Sherman (Michael Best)
About Michael Best Strategies
Michael Best Strategies focuses on achieving clients’ objectives through unparalleled strategy development and deployment for implementation, pragmatic guidance on public policy development, and government relations. The Strategies team specializes in a full range of services, including government relations, public policy consulting, grassroots advocacy, public affairs, conference planning, and strategic political relationships. For more information, visit michaelbeststrategies.com.