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Senate "Vote-A-Rama" Amendments Could Help or Harm Taxpayers

by Nan Swift / /

This page will be updated as additional vote alerts are issued.

As the Senate considers H. Con. Res. 71, the fiscal year 2018 budget resolution, NTU urges all Senators to vote as follows on key amendments:

  • “YES” on McCain #1159: This amendment would rightfully terminate the wasteful and costly Agriculture Department’s catfish inspection program.
  • “YES” on McCain #1160: This amendment would improve the successful “Veterans Choice” program, which permits to seek the health care best suited and available for their specific needs.
  • “YES” on Perdue/Whitehouse #1167: This bipartisan amendment would require action to improve the broken budget process. Reforming this process is essential to restoring long-term fiscal and economic prosperity.
  • “YES” on Flake #1178 & Heller #1399: These amendments make clear the essential goals of tax reform: to make the Code fairer and simpler, reducing the enormous burden our complicated Code places on individuals, families, small businesses, and the economy.
  • “YES” on Perdue #1180: This deficit neutral reserve fund would eliminate deficit neutral reserve funds, making the budget process much less arduous and more enforceable with fewer political messaging votes.
  • “YES” on Heller #1206: This amendment would prioritize infrastructure projects of national/regional significance. This would help reduce the use of federal taxpayer funds for projects that are properly the purview of state and local governments, whose residents would primarily benefit. In addition, this could help reduce the incidence of infrastructure spending as proxy earmarks.
  • “YES” on Heller #1210: This amendment would require timely Congressional action on budget and appropriations bills, improving Congress’ oversight role via the power of the purse.
  • “YES” on Booker #1246: This common sense amendment would protect federal taxpayer infrastructure investments and increase safety through basic flood management reforms.
  • “YES” on Manchin #1269: This amendment emphasizes the urgent need for the Pentagon to achieve and pass a full audit. The Pentagon is the only federal department that has not successfully completed an audit. As the largest agency in terms of discretionary spending, it is doubly important that taxpayers and those entrusted with our national security know how funds are dispersed in order to prevent wasteful spending and misallocation of resources.
  • “YES” on Paul #1277, #1278, & #1295: These amendments repeal and replace the disastrous ACA and provide much-needed consumer relief through expanded Health Savings Accounts.
  • “YES” on Paul #1289, #1290, #1291, #1293, #1298, & #1299: These amendments would reduce wasteful spending, save taxpayers money, and better enforce budgetary restrictions.
  • “YES” on Rubio #1389: This amendment would provide flexibility to states in the administration of welfare programs, so as to best suit the unique needs of their communities.
  • “YES” on Flake #1392: This amendment would eliminate market-distorting energy tax credits.

 
  •  “NO” on Amendments to limit comprehensive tax reform: Numerous amendments would limit the scope and benefit to both workers and the economy of comprehensive tax reform. Amendments such as a point of order against repealing or adjusting the state and local tax deduction (SALT), or preventing other important reforms would maintain the status quo of Tax Code complexity and loopholes that reform seeks to remedy.
  • “NO” on Single-Payer Amendments: NTU urges all Senators to oppose any amendments that would seek to establish a single-payer or Medicare-for-all health care system, including Daines #1166
  • “NO” on Shaheen #1164 & Warren #1388: These amendments would urge the Secretary of the Treasury to provide taxpayers with pre-prepared tax returns, giving the already unreliable Internal Revenue Service (IRS) even broader powers over taxpayers. Among other serious problems, IRS-prepared tax returns would be a major conflict of interest and would hurt taxpayers. Easing this annual chore is better accomplished through simplifying the Tax Code.
  • “NO” on Amendments to Preserve Special Interest Tax Credits: Special interest tax credits for refined coal and renewable energy production are a form of corporate welfare that prop up otherwise unprofitable endeavors and distort markets. Washington shouldn’t use the Tax Code to pick winners and losers. Senators should oppose Hoeven #1183, Wyden #1202, Heitkamp #1229, Coons #1374 and other similar amendments.
  • “NO” on Wasteful Broadband Amendments: Taxpayer-funded broadband expansion has a poor track-record. Congressional efforts are better applied to reducing barriers to private entry into rural markets. Senators should oppose Hoeven #1186, Klobuchar #1256 & #1259, Boozman #1310, Udall #1400, Casey #1173, and other similar amendments.
  • “NO” on Amendments to Preserve the Affordable Care Act (ACA): ACA has been an unmitigated disaster for taxpayers, reducing health care options and triggering sky-high premiums and deductibles. Senators should oppose Wyden #1189 & #1190, and other similar amendments.
  • “NO” on McCain/Klobuchar #1227: Prescription drug reimportation poses a significant threat to medical innovation, along with the quality care and cures we all depend on. It is likely that doing so could actually lead to increased overall spending on health care. This worn-out policy proposal is a short-sighted, risky fix to a complex problem that could precipitate a host of unintended consequences.
  • “NO” on Murphy #1232: This amendment would create barriers to waiving misguided “Buy America Act,” Berry Amendment, and other protectionist policies.  Such statutes reduce competition, increase cost to taxpayers, and shift the role of the Pentagon from a national security agency to a make-work jobs program. While these laws stay on the books, waivers are necessary tool to ensure best value for taxpayers and the Armed Services.
  • “NO” on Hoeven #1239 & Stabenow #1340: These amendments would prevent essential reforms and taxpayer savings from highly subsidized, costly crop insurance and other Farm Bill programs.
  • “NO” on Merkley #1348: This amendment would create a point of order against reducing funding for the troubled, unaccountable Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.
  • “NO” on Rubio #1357: This amendment would increase Pentagon spending. Our record-high national debt poses a significant threat to national security. Increased spending, without first eliminating waste, increasing inefficiencies, and prioritizing programs based on strategic imperative, will not make Americans safer.
  • “NO” on Murray #1405: This amendment to increase budget authority would perpetuate our unsustainable level of spending, exacerbating our growing debt crisis.

Roll call votes on the above amendments to H. Con. Res. 71 will be included in our annual Rating of Congress.

As always, NTU reserves the right to include other votes not listed in our annual Rating and as a reminder, we strongly urge Senators to support pro-growth tax reform and vote “YES” on the underlying bill.