Overview

Last week the House passed: the “Save Local Business Act” (H.R. 3441); the “Risk-Based Credit Examination Act” (H.R. 3991); the “Veterans Crisis Line Study Act of 2017” (H.R. 4173); the “Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017” (H.R. 3043); and the “Micro Offering Safe Harbor Act” (H.R 2201).

During the week of November 6th, the Senate: passed the “Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign Authorization Act of 2017” (H.R. 1370); approved the “Thrift Savings Plan Modernization Act of 2017” (H.R. 3031); passed the “National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act” (S. 1015); confirmed Melissa Sue Glynn, to be Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs; and confirmed Randy Reeves, to be Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Memorial Affairs.

This week the House will vote on the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018” (H.R. 2810) conference report, and the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (H.R. 1). The Senate is expected to vote on the nomination of Derek Kan to be Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy.

Tax Reform

Last Thursday, the House Ways and Means Committee approved the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (H.R. 1). The tax reform bill would:

  • Reduce the federal corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%;
  • Limit the deductibility of corporate interest expenses;
  • Allow corporations to “fully and immediately expense 100 percent of the cost of qualified property acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017”;
  • Consolidate the number of tax rates for individuals;
  • Eliminate or limit individual deductions and credits;
  • Eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT); and
  • Phase out the estate tax.

The House is scheduled to vote on the bill on Thursday, November 16.

On November 10, the Senate Finance Committee released details of its version of tax reform legislation. It includes similar provisions to the House bill regarding corporate tax rates, expensing and the deductibility of interest. A key difference however is that the Senate bill would postpone the corporate tax rate reduction by one year, to 2019. The Senate Finance Committee convened its markup of the tax bill on Monday.

Member Reminder

On July 25, Representatives Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Bill Johnson (R-OH), Raul Ruiz (D-CA), and Pete Sessions (R-TX) introduced the “Ensuring Access to Air Ambulance Services Act of 2017” (H.R. 3378). 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), and Julia Brownley (D-CA) have also cosponsored the bill.

H.R. 3378 would reform the Medicare fee schedule for air ambulance services, starting with a cost reporting and analysis program conducted by 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 increase transparency and quality by establishing cost and quality reporting requirements, as well as solve for a growing gap between Medicare payments and costs.

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

More Information on H.R. 3378: