Overview

The Senate approved its version of tax reform legislation early Saturday morning. The House and Senate are already working on a final version of the bill that both chambers can pass and send to the President. Congress has until the end of this week to approve some form of temporary spending legislation as the current funding bill expires on December 8.

This week, in addition to considering a spending bill, the House is scheduled to debate: the “Small Business Mergers, Acquisitions, Sales, and Brokerage Simplification Act of 2017” (H.R. 477); the “Community Institution Mortgage Relief Act of 2017” (H.R. 3971); and “the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017” (H.R. 38).

Tax Reform

After three days of debate, the Senate passed the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (H.R. 1) on Saturday by a 51-49 vote. The bill would:

  • Reduce the corporate tax rate to 20%, effective January 1, 2019;
  • Limit corporate net interest deductions to 30% of adjusted taxable income;
  • Provide corporations with 100% bonus depreciation effective from September 27, 2017 through December 31, 2022; and
  • Reduce income tax rates while eliminating credits and deductions for individuals.

The House passed its version of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (H.R. 1) on November 16. The House and Senate must now reconcile the two versions of the legislation.

UAS Developments

Last week, the FAA announced the release of the “UAS Airborne Collision Severity Evaluation”. As described in the FAA press release, the report “concludes that drones that collide with large manned aircraft can cause more structural damage than birds of the same weight for a given impact speed.” Last week’s report focused on commercial and business aircraft. According to the FAA, “future research” will include “airborne collision studies with helicopters and general aviation aircraft.”

On November 29, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Aviation Subcommittee held a hearing on “Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Emerging Uses in a Changing National Airspace”. In his opening statement, Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), emphasized the potential benefits of drones. However he also addressed their risks, noting that earlier this year, “a U.S. Army helicopter collided with an illegally operated drone causing hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to that aircraft.” LoBiondo said that the hearing will help inform “Congress [in how it] can enable the continued integration of UAS while meeting the safety challenges as they arise.”

Member Reminder

On November 14, Senators Dean Heller (R-NV), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Cory Gardner (R-CO), introduced the Senate version of the “Ensuring Access to Air Ambulance Services Act of 2017” (S. 2121). The legislation would reform the Medicare fee schedule for air ambulance services, starting with a cost reporting and analysis program conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), followed by: rebasing of air medical reimbursements in 2021; and implementation of a Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program beginning in 2024. The bill would enhance transparency by establishing cost and quality reporting requirements, as well as solve for a growing gap between Medicare payments and costs.

  1. 2121 is the companion bill to H.R. 3378, which was introduced by Representatives Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Raul Ruiz (D-CA), and Pete Sessions (R-TX). Representatives Tom Cole (R-OK), Jason Smith (R-MO), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), David Loebsack (D-IA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Kenny Marchant (R-TX), Terri Sewell (D-AL), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Julia Brownley (D-CA), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) have also cosponsored the House bill.

AAMS fully supports this legislation, and encourages members to contact their Senators and Members of Congress to ask them to cosponsor S. 2121 and H.R. 3378. The House of Representatives provides a tool for identifying your Member of Congress by zip code. The U.S. Senate provides contact information for all 100 Senators.

More Information on H.R. 3378: