Legislative Activity

House to Vote on Highway Funding Bill, Other Tax Measures

This week, the House is expected to vote on H.R. 5021, the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014.  The bill, which was reported out of the Ways and Means Committee along party lines on July 10, would patch the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) through transfers from the General Fund and the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund. To offset the cost of the General Fund transfer, the bill calls for pension smoothing and customs fees. The bill not only provides a short-term patch for the HTF, but would also extend the HTF’s authorization through May 2015. The Senate Finance Committee also marked up its version of HTF funding legislation on July 10. While the Senate version includes many of the same provisions as the House bill, it also includes additional revenue-raising compliance measures aimed mostly at tax evasion, not found in the House version. As such, both measures will need to be reconciled before any legislation is enacted by Congress. In order to prevent a slowing in HTF payments to the States, Congress must enact legislation before the August recess.

Additionally, this week, the House will also consider five charitable tax provisions, which were marked up by the Ways and Means Committee on May 29. The provisions include: (1) The Fighting Hunger Incentive Act of 2014 (H.R. 4719), which would permanently extend the deduction for charitable contributions of food inventory; (2) The Conservation Easement Incentive Act of 2014 (H.R. 2807), which would permanently extend the deduction for charitable contributions of real property interests by individuals and corporations for conservation purposes; (3) The Permanent IRA Charitable Contribution Act of 2014 (H.R. 4619), which would make permanent the rule allowing some tax-free distributions from IRAs for charitable purposes; (4) H.R. 3134, which would allow individuals’ charitable contributions made between the end of the tax year and the tax return due date to be treated as being made during the tax year; and (5) H.R. 4691, which would modify the rate for excise tax on the investment income of private foundations. The House, led by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), remains committed to going “policy by policy” to determine which extenders should be made permanent, rather than pursuing the short-term, across-the-board solution pending in the Senate. On the Senate side, the EXPIRE Act (S. 2260), which would provide a two-year extension for certain tax extenders that expired on January 1, is stalled as a result of Republican objections over the amendment process.

Separately, the House will also consider the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (H.R. 3086).