I’ve decided to try out a new feature this week here at To Hill and Back called the “Congressional Week in Review”. (Snappy title no?) As you may have guessed, the weekly post will include a wrap-up of both major and minor legislation passed (if any), notable news and notes from Capitol Hill and those who work there, and links to some of the most interesting political articles from around of the web.
Now, with that bit of housekeeping out of the way, on to this week’s wrap-up:
- The House voted to extend tax breaks for a number of corporations and individuals. According to a report from the Associated Press and Yahoo! News, those who will benefit from the breaks include teachers, commuters, people living in states with no state income tax, owners of NASCAR racetracks, and various others. The fate of the bill now rests with the Senate, which must act on it quickly since the breaks will affect 2014 tax returns.
- In light of the wave of protests spreading throughout the country involving the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, President Obama has sent a proposal to Congress seeking funding for up to 50,000 body cameras for police officers across the country, as well as additional training.
- The House also voted to pass The ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act by a huge 404-17 vote on Wednesday. According to The Inquisitr,the legislation will help parents of children with disabilities or special needs create a tax-free savings account, with the money in the account to be used for things such as schooling and healthcare. With a $2 billion cost, Congress had to find ways to offset the cost. And they came up with some pretty interesting cuts, including cutting the coverage of “vacuum erection systems” (a.k.a penis pumps) from Medicare. Roll Call reports that the savings from cutting the pumps comes to $450 million.
- Something even Congress can agree on- Jack Nicklaus, professional golf’s all-time winner in major tournaments (18), received the Congressional Gold Medal last Monday. The gold medal is the highest award Congress can bestow a civilian.
- The 114th U.S. Congress is officially set, as Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) lost her Senate seat to Rep. Bill Cassidy in that state’s Senate runoff on Saturday. Cassidy beat the incumbent senator by a 57%-43% margin, officially giving Republicans 54 seats in the Senate.
- Looking at the week ahead, Congress faces a December 11 deadline to fund the federal government and the aforementioned tax break bill.