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Tom RamstackTom RamstackFebruary 11, 201821min274

H.R. 1153: Mortgage Choice Act of 2017

This was a vote to pass H.R. 1153 in the House.

The Mortgage Choice Act of 2017 approved this week is intended to make mortgage lending easier for financial institutions by excluding some charges from the points and fee calculations. It also is supposed to incrementally drive down the cost to consumers to obtain a mortgage. The bill has the support of the Credit Union National Association. “These common sense changes will help low and moderate income families as well as first-time homebuyers access affordable mortgage credit and experience the benefits of one-stop shopping by ensuring that safe, properly underwritten mortgages pass the qualified mortgage test,” said Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., who sponsored the bill. It limits the points and fees for “Qualified Mortgages” to no more than 3 percent of the loan value. It also removes title insurance purchased from a company affiliated with the lender as well as escrowed homeowners insurance premiums from the points and fees calculation.    

Passed.

No  D   DeGette, Diana CO 1st
No  D   Polis, Jared CO 2nd
Yes  R   Tipton, Scott CO 3rd
Yes  R   Buck, Ken CO 4th
Yes  R   Lamborn, Doug CO 5th
Yes  R   Coffman, Mike CO 6th
Yes  D   Perlmutter, Ed CO 7th

H.R. 1997: Ukraine Cybersecurity Cooperation Act of 2017

This was a vote to pass H.R. 1997 in the House.

The “Ukraine Cybersecurity Cooperation Act” is intended to promote U.S.-Ukraine cooperation for cybersecurity while both the Ukraine and United States are concerned about Russian hacking. This week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that the Russians are likely to try to hack American computer systems to influence the upcoming midterm elections. He also said the United States is unprepared. Under the legislation the House approved this week, the U.S. will offer Ukraine support to secure its government computer networks. In addition, Ukrainian officials hope to reduce their dependence on Russian information and communications technology. In return, the U.S. government will get opportunities for cybersecurity information-sharing. The sponsors of the bill said it is authorized under the U.S.–Ukraine Charter on Strategic Partnership and the Budapest Memorandum on security assurances. The bill still needs Senate approval.

Passed.

Yes  D   DeGette, Diana CO 1st
Yes  D   Polis, Jared CO 2nd
Yes  R   Tipton, Scott CO 3rd
Yes  R   Buck, Ken CO 4th
Yes  R   Lamborn, Doug CO 5th
Yes  R   Coffman, Mike CO 6th
Yes  D   Perlmutter, Ed CO 7th

H.R. 1892: Honoring Hometown Heroes Act

This was a vote to pass H.R. 1892 in the House.

The Honoring Hometown Heroes Act modifies the federal flag code to give governors and the mayor of Washington, D.C., authority to “proclaim that the U.S. flag shall be flown at half-staff in the event of the death of a first responder (public safety officer) working in such jurisdiction who dies while serving in the line of duty.” The bill’s sponsor, Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., said in a statement, “First responders are the nation’s front line of defense here at home. In the unfortunate times when the ultimate sacrifice is given, they deserve the respect of having our nation’s flag flown at half-staff. Amending the Flag Code is the least we can do.” The standards for handling and displaying the U.S. Flag are defined by the U.S. Flag Code. It authorizes the president to order the flag to be flown at half-staff when governors or high-ranking U.S. government figures die. H.R. 1892 extends the authority to governors to honor local police, firefighters and emergency responders killed in the line of duty.

Passed.

No  D   DeGette, Diana CO 1st
No  D   Polis, Jared CO 2nd
Yes  R   Tipton, Scott CO 3rd
Yes  R   Buck, Ken CO 4th
Yes  R   Lamborn, Doug CO 5th
Yes  R   Coffman, Mike CO 6th
No  D   Perlmutter, Ed CO 7th

H.R. 772: Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017

This was a vote to pass H.R. 772 in the House.

This bill clarifies the Obamacare menu labeling rules to give restaurant owners greater flexibility in posting the nutrition information of the food they sell. The “Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act” is a response to concerns of the food industry, which has complained that food labeling provisions of the Affordable Care Act placed too much of a burden on them. Current law requires chain restaurants, convenience stores, movie theaters and supermarkets with at least 20 locations to post nutrition information on their in-store menu boards to comply with the requirements. The Food and Drug Administration announced in November the rules would take effect May 7. The guidelines would have required a listing of calorie counts next to each food item on the menu. Supporters of the Obamacare rules say the menu labeling requirements encourage public health by informing consumers about their food orders. However, pizza chains and other fast food restaurants say the rules can be misleading. Nutrition information can vary widely depending on toppings customers choose, the restaurants say. Instead, they want to post nutrition information on their websites. The Republican-endorsed H.R. 772 would give them that option. They also could list the nutrition information through phone recordings or mobile apps.

Passed.

No  D   DeGette, Diana CO 1st
No  D   Polis, Jared CO 2nd
Yes  R   Tipton, Scott CO 3rd
Yes  R   Buck, Ken CO 4th
Yes  R   Lamborn, Doug CO 5th
Yes  R   Coffman, Mike CO 6th
No  D   Perlmutter, Ed CO 7th

H.R. 4547: Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2017

This was a vote to pass H.R. 4547 in the House.

H.R. 4547 would increase oversight of the Social Security Administration’s payee representative program, which handles payments to persons who are too young, disabled or elderly to manage their benefits themselves. The Strengthening Protections for Social Security Beneficiaries Act of 2017 was a reaction to reports of abuses by payee representatives who sometimes embezzled money paid to more than eight million beneficiaries under the program. The House bill is intended to protect the beneficiaries through a more rigorous process of selecting and managing payee representatives. Complaints about abuses came from government watchdog groups and stakeholders in the program, which the Social Security Administration has used since 1938 to administer funds. Some of them testified during congressional hearings leading up to passage of H.R. 4547. Provisions of the bill would increase the number of performance reviews of payee representatives. The reviews would be done by the Protection and Advocacy system of each state. The legislation also would eliminate the requirement for spouses and parents who live with their children to file annual payee accounting forms.

Passed.

Yes  D   DeGette, Diana CO 1st
Yes  D   Polis, Jared CO 2nd
Yes  R   Tipton, Scott CO 3rd
Yes  R   Buck, Ken CO 4th
Yes  R   Lamborn, Doug CO 5th
Yes  R   Coffman, Mike CO 6th
Yes  D   Perlmutter, Ed CO 7th

 

Sources: GovTrack, press statements, congressional and media reports


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Floyd CiruliFloyd CiruliJanuary 17, 20185min424

Just as President Trump was hoping to leave for his holiday in Palm Beach, cable commentators were questioning why he hadn’t yet signed the tax bill. Trump, ever sensitive to his TV image, staged a quick signing ceremony on December 20 before wheels up. When asked if he will spend time promoting the plan, Trump said: “I don’t think I’m going to have to travel too much to sell it. I think it’s selling itself.”


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Joey BunchJoey BunchNovember 3, 20173min617

A tax on insurers based on their size, a provision of the Affordable Care Act, is set to take effect Jan. 1, but the Colorado Business Roundtable and the Colorado Farm Bureau want to talk about how much of that will be passed on to small businesses, farmers and ranchers in higher premiums.

They are putting on a meeting on the subject Monday at 9 a.m. with the Stop The HIT Coalition  at the Farm Bureau office at 9177 East Mineral Circle in Centennial, if you’re interested.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner is among the tax’s biggest opponents. He has a bill, the Healthcare Tax Relief Act, to delay adding the tax on insurers again. It took effect in 2014 but was suspended by Congress in 2015.

The failure of legislative efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare last summer has opponents hustling to head off the tax with another postponement, a banner Gardner is carrying.

“Pretty simple — business gets fee, fee gets passed on,” Gardner said on the Senate floor last week. “As is the case with most excise taxes, if this tax takes effect, costs will be passed to consumers in the form of higher premiums as confirmed by the Congressional Budget Office.”

Gardner cited an economic who estimated premiums could rise by 3 percent in each the next three years because of the tax.

The Stop The HIT Coalition was founded to fight the levy in 2011 by Tim Cuff of the National Federation of Independent Business, and the NFIB, the Farm Bureau, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are among the 39 business groups make up its membership.

As Republicans search for ways to pay for other tax cuts — and President Trump’s border wall — the health insurance tax repeal has not been gained traction, however

The Washington Post reported about the difficulty Paul Ryan had with it in August:

Ryan’s reluctance may be related to making Congress’s tax-math work. The health-insurance tax is estimated to raise $145 billion over a decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That revenue loss would further complicate efforts to keep any tax changes from adding to the long-term federal deficit. Republican leaders need to achieve that goal in order to use a budget procedure that allows them to bypass Democratic opposition in the Senate.

“If you’re going to cut the corporate tax rate, somebody’s got to pay for it,” said Don Williamson, the executive director of the Kogod Tax Policy Center at American University.