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So far David Rugg has created 77 blog entries.

H. R. 6760, Protecting Family and Small Business Tax Cuts Act of 2018.

This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to make permanent several tax provisions that were enacted in 2017 and are scheduled to expire at the end of 2025.

The bill makes permanent provisions that:

  • reduce individual tax rates,
  • modify the taxation of the unearned income of children,
  • allow a deduction for qualified business income of pass-through entities,
  • increase the standard deduction,
  • increase and modify the child tax credit,
  • increase the limitation for certain charitable contributions,
  • allow additional contributions to ABLE accounts (tax-favored accounts designed to enable individuals with disabilities to save for and pay for disability-related expenses),
  • allow certain members of the Armed Forces in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt to receive combat zone tax benefits,
  • exclude from gross income discharges of student loan debt due to the death or disability of the student,
  • repeal the deduction for personal exemptions,
  • limit individual deductions for state and local taxes,
  • limit the mortgage interest deduction,
  • double the estate and gift tax exemption amount,
  • increase the alternative minimum tax exemption amount for individuals, and
  • repeal or limit several other deductions and exclusions.

The bill also:

  • extends through 2020 the reduction in the adjusted gross income threshold for the medical expense deduction,
  • modifies the capital gains tax brackets, and
  • modifies tax filing requirements for married taxpayers.

NOTE: Two of the five Minnesota DFL Representatives voted opposite Jason Lewis (Representatives Walz, Ellison, and Nolan did note vote), as did 179 other Dems in the House. We therefore regard Lewis’s vote as being against progressive values.

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

“H. R. 6760: (Source: Dissenting View from Committee Report 115-958, See the end of the report)

  • Just like the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, no hearings with experts or constituents were held and no amendments were approved. “The Democratic staff has identified over 100 mistakes and other problems with the Republicans’ tax law.”
  • “…extended the section 199A pass-through deduction which Republicans claimed would benefit small business and spur economic growth. Instead, section 199A is a massive giveaway to millionaires. In fact, 58 percent of the benefit of the Republicans’ so-called small business tax benefit goes to millionaires.”
  • “Republicans have doubled down on their attack on the middle class by attempting to make permanent the limits to the State and Local Tax Deduction. Republicans rejected the opportunity to restore fairness in our tax system for more tax- payers that are now facing double taxation as a result of Republican tax policy choices.”
  • “The Republicans call themselves fiscal conservatives but nothing could be further from the truth. History doesn’t lie and now we’re seeing it again with the addition of more than $3 trillion to the nation’s debt.”

The staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates that enacting the bill would reduce revenues by about $597 billion over the 2019-2028 period, and increase outlays by $34 billion over the same period, leading to an increase in the deficit of $631 billion over the next 10 years. A portion of the changes in revenues would be from Social Security payroll taxes, which are off-budget. Excluding the estimated $687 million increase in off-budget revenues over the next 10 years, JCT estimates that H.R. 6760 would increase on-budget deficits by about $632 billion over the period from 2019 to 2028. Pay-as-you-go procedures apply because enacting the legislation would affect direct spending and revenues. (Source: Congressional Budget Office)

Taxes would decline on average across all income groups, but higher income households would generally receive larger average tax cuts as a percentage of after-tax income. (Source: Urban Institute and Brookings Institution)

More Info See Bill


H. R. 6760, Protecting Family and Small Business Tax Cuts Act of 2018. 2018-09-30T11:08:55+00:00

H. R. 6691, Community Safety and Security Act of 2018.

This bill amends title 18, United States Code, to clarify the definition of “crime of violence”, and for other purposes.

NOTE: Two of the 3 DFL Reps present for the roll call voted opposite Jason Lewis, as did 146 other Dems in the House. We therefore regard Lewis’s vote as being against progressive values. (Minnesota Representatives Walz and Ellison did not vote)

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

“I must oppose H.R. 6691, the so-called ‘Community Safety and Security Act.’  This highly flawed bill is an example of why regular order and a meaningful deliberative process is essential to the crafting of legislation. Last April, the Supreme Court, in Sessions v. Dimaya, ruled that a portion of the criminal code’s definition of “crime of violence” is unconstitutionally vague.  That was nearly six months ago.  The Judiciary Committee has had ample time to examine the decision, to hold hearings, to gather input from a range of stakeholders, and to carefully develop legislation through a markup and regular order.  But, none of those things have happened.” (Ranking member Nadler of the House Judiciary Committee)

“Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) opposes H.R. 6691, a bill designed to rewrite the definition of a “crime of violence” in the federal criminal code. The bill would label seemingly nonviolent offenses such as burglary of an unoccupied home and fleeing as violent offenses. The bill would also label as violent conspiracy to commit any of the listed offenses, even when no violent acts have occurred.” (FAMM Press Release 9/6/2018)

“H.R. 6691 is a retrogressive measure that seeks to expand the federal criminal code and exacerbate mass incarceration at a time when the vast majority of Americans believe the country is ready for progressive criminal justice reform.” (Statement from the National Immigrant Justice Center)
More Info See Bill


H. R. 6691, Community Safety and Security Act of 2018. 2018-09-09T20:49:02+00:00

H. R. 6311, To amend Internal Revenue Code and Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to modify the definition of qualified health plan for purposes of the health insurance premium tax credit and to allow individuals purchasing health insurance in the individual market to purchase a lower premium copper plan.

NOTE: Two of the 3 DFL Reps present for the roll call voted opposite Jason Lewis, as did 173 other Dems in the House. We therefore regard Lewis’s vote as being against progressive values.

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

“H. R. 6311: (Source: Dissenting View from Committee Report 115-849, See the end of the report)

  • “explicitly prohibits tax credits for plans that offer comprehensive women’s health care.
  • “would likely reduce choice and competition in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces.”
  • “would likely lead to increased premiums for individuals with preexisting conditions.”
  • “continues Republican efforts to undermine and destabilize the health insurance market increases costs for consumers, and undermines women’s health care, while at the same time growing our deficit.
  • “busts the deficit to benefit the wealthy, again.”
More Info See Bill


H. R. 6311, To amend Internal Revenue Code and Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 2018-07-29T10:55:45+00:00

H. Con. Res. 119, Congress expressing that a carbon tax would be detrimental to U. S. economy.

This resolution expresses the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to American families and businesses and is not in the best interest of the United States.

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

“H.Con.Res. 119 is not an anti-carbon tax bill but is, in fact, an anti-climate action bill. Simply put, it broadly limits Congress from discussing and developing climate solutions. This resolution ignores the huge costs that our country is already experiencing due to climate change – costs that fall disproportionately on low-income communities and communities of color.  It is clear this resolution is meant to put the interests of the polluting fossil fuel companies ahead of our health, safety and clean energy future.” (Source: League of Conservation Voters)

“On behalf of our millions of members and supporters, the undersigned organizations urge you to oppose H.Con.Res 119. This anti-climate resolution is a tiresome effort advanced by the Koch Brothers and their“Just Say No” partners that deny the need to take any action on climate. This resolution puts the interests of big polluters ahead of the health and well-being of American families and future generations.” (Source: Coalition letter from organizations opposing H. Con. Res. 119)

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) spoke on the House floor in opposition to anti-carbon solutions resolution H.Con.R. 199 and chided her Republican colleagues for refusing to help mitigate the threat that climate change poses to our health, ecosystem, and economy, especially in coastal states like Maine. (Source: Congresswoman Chellie Pingree)

“Citizens’ Climate Lobby today challenged the assumption in an anti-carbon tax resolution, introduced by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), that such a levy would be “detrimental to the United States economy.” If done the right way, a tax or fee on carbon would actually boost the economy.” (Source: Citizen’s Climate Lobby)

“The resolution expresses the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be “detrimental to American Families and businesses, and is not in the best interest of the United States.” This partisan resolution has no democratic co-sponsors and condemns tax policy that could be helpful in curbing carbon pollution that contributes to climate change.  Not only do House Republicans constantly target the environment with their anti-Clean Air Act legislation and try to tie the hands of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but they refuse to listen to hard scientific facts about the need to maintain policy tools and strategies to address harmful greenhouse gas emissions.” (Source: The Daily Whip for Thursday, July 19, 2018)

More Info See Bill


H. Con. Res. 119, Congress expressing that a carbon tax would be detrimental to U. S. economy. 2018-07-21T10:41:38+00:00

H. R. 200, Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management

This bill revises and reauthorizes through FY2022 the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). Revisions are made to: (1) requirements for fishery management plans for overfished fisheries; and (2) catch limit requirements, including by authorizing Regional Fishery Management Councils to consider changes in an ecosystem and the economic needs of the fishing communities when establishing the limits.

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

“H. R. 200 would reauthorize and amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), the law that governs fishing in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). We oppose this legislation because it would roll back important elements of the law which are critical to making fisheries and the fishing industry in the United States economically and environmentally sustainable.” (Source: Dissenting View from Committee Report 115-758, See the end of the report)

“The Network does not support H.R. 200: it is the wrong foundation for reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Act.” The bill, “represents a significant step backward by promoting greater uncertainty in the future management of our fisheries.” It, “threatens the Magnuson-Stevens Act’s strong foundation by weakening many conservation measures including the mandate to use science-based fishing catch limits.” (Source: Marine Fish Conservation Network)

“The undersigned organizations and individuals are united in their opposition to H.R. 200, a bill to reauthorize and amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson- Stevens Act). The Magnuson-Stevens Act is working to restore fish populations and the coastal communities that depend on them. If enacted, H.R. 200 would threaten this success and the future of healthy fish populations and sustainable fisheries. It would significantly weaken the law’s conservation provisions by creating loopholes, watering down legal standards, and decreasing accountability.” (Source: Letter from a coalition of organizations)

“H.R. 200, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 3, 2017, would significantly undermine the nation’s primary ocean fisheries law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The legislation is almost identical to two bills that failed to pass Congress in recent years. Like its predecessors, H.R. 200 would allow management decisions that increase the risk of overfishing, which occurs when fish are caught faster than they can reproduce, and that hinder the rebuilding of depleted populations.” (Source: Pew Charitable Trust)

More Info See Bill


H. R. 200, Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management 2018-07-14T08:58:12+00:00

H. R. 4760, Securing America’s Future Act of 2018.

This bill amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to revise immigrant visa allocation provisions, including family-related visas. A nonimmigrant classification for parents of adult U.S. citizens is created.

The diversity visa program is eliminated.

Annual immigration levels are revised.

The limit on the worldwide level of employment-based immigrants is increased.

The H-2C visa temporary agricultural worker program is revised. A trust fund is established to provide incentives for such workers to return to their country of origin.

DNA testing to establish family relationships is authorized.

Employment eligibility verification provisions are revised. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shall establish an employment verification system.

No federal, state, or local government entity or individual may prohibit or restrict a federal, state, or local government entity or official from complying with the immigration laws or assisting related federal law enforcement activities.

The bill revises provisions regarding: (1) detention of aliens in removal proceedings; (2) illegal entry and reentry; (3) inadmissibility and deportability of criminal aliens, gang members, drunk drivers, and sex offenders; (4) repatriation; (5) asylum and asylum fraud; (6) unaccompanied alien children; (7) foreign students; and (8) visa fraud.

The bill: (1) transfers authority for strengthening the southern border from the Department of Justice to DHS; (2) revises border security provisions; (3) provides for additional border security personnel; (4) authorizes new ports of entry along the northern border and southern borders; (5) authorizes National Guard border security activities; (6) provides contingent nonimmigrant status for certain aliens who entered the United States as minors; (7) authorizes appropriations for specified border barriers and infrastructure; and (8) establishes Operation Stonegarden to make border security grants to law enforcement agencies.

DHS shall: (1) submit a southern border threat analysis, (2) establish the Integrated Border Enforcement Team program, (3) implement the Border Security Deployment Program, (4) review social media activities of visa applicants, and (5) establish a biometric exit data system.

NOTE:  Although this bill failed to pass in the House, we regard Jason Lewis’s support of it as a notable vote against progressive values.

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

(Source: Key points; The National Immigration Forum).

  • Fails to provide Dreamers a permanent solution,
  • Harms the economy by significantly cutting legal immigration,
  • Imposes E-Verify on all employers and employees,
  • Creates overly harsh penalties by criminalizing unlawful presence,
  • Increases expensive border security measures,
  • Diminishes humanitarian protections.

“Republicans are essentially asking Democrats to trade the legalization of 700,000 unauthorized immigrants for the criminalization of all others, banning 2.6 million legal immigrants over the next decade, the elimination of almost all family sponsorship preference categories and the diversity visa lottery, deporting tens of thousands of asylum seekers, huge increases in border security spending, a massive new regulatory program that applies to every employee and employer in the country (“E-Verify”), and so much else. This bill has no chance of becoming law, but it is a remarkable illustration of how far apart the parties are on this issue.” (Source: CATO Institute)

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly opposes H.R. 4760, the “Securing America’s Future Act of 2018,” because it is a fundamentally flawed approach to dealing with problems caused by the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Should this legislation be considered by the full House, the Chamber would consider including votes on it in our How They Voted scorecard.” (Source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

“We write on behalf of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a coalition of the leading national Latino nonpartisan civil rights and advocacy organizations, to express our strong opposition to H.R. 4760, Securing America’s Future Act. This legislation does not represent the values and needs of the Latino community, and should be rejected outright as a dog-whistle aimed at torpedoing an achievable and necessary legislative goal to provide relief for what is a small portion of the undocumented population.” (Source: National Hispanic Leadership Agenda)

“As 78 religious leaders and faith-based organizations from many traditions, we write today in strongopposition to the Securing America’s Future Act (H.R. 4760). We urge you instead, support the Dream Act or other bipartisan proposals that provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers while upholding the value of family unity. We are heartbroken that immigrant youth are at risk of deportation due toCongress’s failure to act. Every day that passes without a solution Dreamers lose their status and their ability to live, work, and attend school without fear of detention and deportation. Now is the time for immediate and compassionate bipartisan action that provides these aspiring Americans stability and opportunity.” (Source: Various Faith Leaders)

More Info See Bill


H. R. 4760, Securing America’s Future Act of 2018. 2018-07-02T18:00:12+00:00

H. Res. 970, Insisting that the DOJ fully comply with Committee on Intelligence Requests.

The purpose of the bill is to insist that the “Department of Justice fully comply with the requests, including subpoenas, of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the subpoena issued by the Committee on the Judiciary relating to potential violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by personnel of the Department of Justice and related matters.”

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

“H.Res. 970 is being brought to the Floor in order to lay the groundwork to discredit and undermine Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and ultimately Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. President Trump and Republicans would love nothing more than to stop the lawful investigation being conducted by Mueller.  In order to protect our democracy, it is essential that this investigation continue without interference or obstruction by Republicans. This Resolution is an escalation of House Republicans’ conflict with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the Robert Mueller probe, and repeatedly chastises the Justice Department (DOJ) for alleged “non-compliance” in demanding sensitive documents. It demands that DOJ turn over all requested documents, including documents pertaining to the highly classified FISA surveillance program and documents pertaining to the FBI’s use of confidential informants by July 6th. ” (Source: Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer)

“H. Res. 970 is wrong on the facts, wrong on the law, wrong on the rules, and a dangerous precedent to set for the House of Representatives. First, the resolution is riddled with inaccuracies. Taking this document at face value, you might think that the Department of Justice had not already sent us hundreds of thousands of documents—many of which, the sponsors of this resolution delight in leaking to the public. It also relies heavily on the March 22 subpoena issued by Chairman Goodlatte—a subpoena that was not issued in compliance with House Rules and, according to past House Counsels with whom we have consulted, likely cannot be enforced.” (Source: Ranking Member Nadler)

“The House will have an opportunity to exercise proper oversight of this matter, once the work of the Special Counsel is completed. For the House to intrude into the internal workings of a criminal investigation while that investigation is still ongoing, as this resolution seeks to do, is an abuse of the House’s institutional responsibilities. Such action would change the House’s rolefrom oversight to interference in a criminal investigation.” (Source: Democracy 21)

More Info See Bill


H. Res. 970, Insisting that the DOJ fully comply with Committee on Intelligence Requests. 2018-07-02T17:10:39+00:00

H. R. 2, Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018.

This bill (commonly known as the farm bill) reauthorizes through FY2023 and modifies Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs that address: commodity support, conservation, trade and international food aid, nutrition assistance, farm credit, rural development, research and extension activities, forestry, horticulture, and crop insurance.

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

“The Agriculture and Nutrition Act, H.R. 2, threatens millions of rural and urban Americans, particularly those who rely on our farm and food programs most. The Majority’s ideology driven reforms to nutrition assistance programs under the guise of a commitment to human dignity will ultimately leave nearly two million current beneficiaries without money to buy groceries. The exclusion of improvements to farm programs leaves agricultural producers vulnerable to market access and price volatility without an effective farm safety net. Most alarming however, is the manner in which H.R. 2 was written and negotiated. This farm bill has destabilized the historic common ground on which the Committee withstood over a century of sea change in favor of leadership driven politics and perception based policies.” (Source: Committee on Agriculture, Dissenting Views)

“Instead of supporting farmers’ conservation efforts by enhancing programs like the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) as my SOIL Stewardship Act would do, Republicans voted to cut working lands programs and eliminate CSP. Instead of investing in our small-town businesses and rural communities, Republicans voted to eliminate the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Instead of doing all they can to help facilitate the transfer of skills, knowledge and land between current and future generations of producers as my Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act would do, Republicans failed to scale up and permanently reauthorize the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Perhaps most indefensibly, instead of strengthening and making commonsense improvements to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – the most effective anti-hunger program in U.S. history and a source of economic vitality in southern Minnesota – Republicans voted to risk creating barriers to access for veterans and vulnerable families with children who rely on the program, which helps keep 16,000 veterans from going to bed hungry in Minnesota alone.” (Source: Congressman Tim Walz)

“The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — the nation’s most critical anti-hunger program — primarily supports working families earning low wages, seniors, children, and people with disabilities. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway’s (R-TX) draft farm bill, released today, seeks to erode the effectiveness of SNAP in ensuring that those who struggle against hunger can afford to put food on the table. The proposals in this bill would lead to greater hunger and poverty among all types of beneficiary families, including the working poor, as well as reduced economic growth and productivity in communities across the country.” (Source: Food Research & Action Center)

Multiple sources of information/opposition. (Betterfarmbill.org)

More Info See Bill


H. R. 2, Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018. 2018-06-24T09:27:33+00:00

H. R. 5895, Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019.

This bill Provides FY2019 appropriations for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civil works projects, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Energy (DOE), and independent agencies such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”

Why This Bill Is Against Our Values:

“Our organizations, along with our millions of members and supporters, urge you to oppose all anti-environmental riders proposed for inclusion in the FY 2019 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, including Section 108 which would repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule. Section 108 is a radical rider that would eliminate the vital safeguards of the Clean Water Rule for the waters that feed the drinking water of 117 million people and protect streams, headwaters, wetlands and other water bodies that serve as habitat for wildlife, reduce flooding risk, and naturally filter pollution. The dangerous provision would subvert the entire rulemaking process by disregarding public input, including the over 1.5 million comments submitted in support of the Rule and opposing attempts to roll it back. Additionally, it would ignore the strong scientific foundation for the Rule and would return Clean Water Act jurisdiction to an inconsistent and uncertain regulatory scheme, which stakeholders across the board have said is unworkable. This rider is nothing but an attempt by some in Congress to use the inappropriate venue of the appropriations process to help the administration with their reckless, unpopular, and failing effort to decimate clean water protections.” (Source: Clean Water Action, Letter to Congress)

“Instead of following regular order and debating and amending the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, Energy and Water, and Legislative Branch bills separately, Republican leadership is forcing us to consider them together. This broken process has a simple aim: Republicans are using America’s veterans as pawns to force through cuts to clean energy research and harmful policy provisions that weaken environmental safeguards.'” (Source: Congresswoman Nita Lowey)

“…It is disappointing that the Majority has jeopardized the possibility of a bipartisan bill by adding ideological riders that are anti-environment, including gutting the Clean Water Act and overturning a court decision meant to protect endangered fish species, in addition to allowing guns on public lands. We should not have to remind our Majority colleagues that similar provisions have imperiled passage of this bill in the past, and that these riders cannot be included in any legislation that requires bipartisan support to pass. Yet they continue not only to include the same riders year after year, but this year brings a new, unnecessary version of a Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rider while introducing a new provision legislating an ongoing court case, both poison pills. These issues inject divisive partisan issues into must- pass spending bills, a recipe for chaos when Congress attempts to keep the government open for business.” (Source: Committee on Appropriations, Report 115-697)

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H. R. 5895, Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019. 2018-06-09T21:06:00+00:00