Republican Tax Cutters Run for the Finish Line
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Republican Tax Cutters Run for the Finish Line

House and Senate Versions of the Plan Could Be Wrapped Up This Week

Tax cuts. Congressional Republicans face critical decisions this week as they move within striking distance on a major legislative package to cut taxes. The House plans to vote on a GOP tax bill by week’s end that would slash taxes for companies and overhaul the tax code for virtually every American family and individual. And the Senate Finance Committee expects to vote on its version of the package within the next few days.

House and Senate Republicans risk colliding over whether Americans should be able to deduct local property taxes from their federal taxable income. The House GOP bill would allow Americans to deduct up to $10,000 of those taxes from income as a way to placate complaints from conservatives in high-tax states such as New York and California.

Taxpayers are permitted to use local property taxes as well as state income taxes to offset parts of their federally taxed income. Senate Republicans in their proposal have refused to allow for the deduction of any of those taxes.

California Gov. Jerry Brown at the U.N. climate conference

Climate change. A handful of governors, including California’s Jerry Brown, and scores of other lawmakers, mayors and business leaders are at the United Nations climate conference in Bonn, Germany, trying to persuade world leaders that Trump doesn’t speak for our nation on climate change. “I want to make it clear,” said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) “The federal government is not just the president of the United States.”

The United States, if it goes through with Trump’s announced withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, would be the only country in the world outside the pact.

The unofficial U.S. delegation, We Are Still In, spent an estimated $235,000 the U.S. exhibit pavilion in Bonn with financial support from billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer.

Trump has called climate change a hoax and is promoting coal production. The official U.S. delegation to the conference was planning to host a panel on fossil fuels.

Refugees. The Trump administration is ending an immigration program that reunited children from Central America with their parents who are legally in the United States. The Central American Minors program allowed parents who were lawfully present in our country to request a refugee resettlement interview for their children and other family members from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The other family members who qualified were the child’s other parent or caregiver, the child’s own child and the parent’s grandchild. The State Department is not accepting any new applications for the program. The refugee program started in December 2014 after tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors and families from Central America sought asylum in the United States. The program has admitted 3,248 children and family members.

Polish nationalists take part in the March of Independence 2017 in Warsaw (EPA photo).

Poland. About 60,000 nationalists marched on Poland’s independence day, throwing red-smoke bombs and carrying banners with slogans such as “white Europe of brotherly nations.” The march marked Poland’s independence in 1918 at the end of the first world war after being partitioned and ruled since the late 18th century by Russia, Prussia and the Austro-Hungarian empire. The National Radical Camp and the All Polish Youth, two political movements named after Polish anti-Semitic fascist leagues from the 1920s and 1930s, organized the march. The National Radical Camp has said it wants an authoritarian, Catholic Poland, and its members have burned Jews in effigy.

Featured Photo: House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) joined by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

November 13, 2017