Monday, 24 June 2024

Ways and Means Committee passes recovery legislation

 

WASHINGTON – The House Committee on Ways and Means voted Thursday in support of a comprehensive economic recovery package to provide tax, health and unemployment relief to families while also encouraging businesses to create new jobs.


Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) helped draft and voted in favor of the legislation, which passed the Committee by a vote of 24 to 13.


The bill includes several alternative energy tax provisions authored by Congressman Thompson. The legislation will now be combined with other components of the recovery package from other House Committees into H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for consideration by the full House of Representatives next week.


“We need to make sure that working families are getting help through these tough economic times,” said Congressman Thompson. “By providing tax relief and assistance with health care costs to working families, and making investments that will create green jobs, we’re going to make sure that all Americans will benefit from this recovery package. I will continue to work with my colleagues to make sure that this legislation effectively and efficiently delivers a boost to the economy, so that taxpayers get the most out of their investment in our country’s future.”


H.R. 598 would also provide tax incentives to businesses to help them expand their payrolls and make broad investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency programs.


“Investing in alternative energy is a smart thing to do,” said Thompson. “For example, the solar energy tax provisions I authored will make it easier for businesses and homeowners to have solar panels installed. This will create green jobs and at the same time reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Not only will this help us in the short term, it will also enhance the long-term security and sustainability of our economy.”


The package provides payment incentives to encourage the widespread adoption of Health Information Technology (HIT) to modernize American health care, cut red tape, eliminate redundant care and reduce health insurance premiums for millions.


At Thompson’s urging, the bill also allows telemedicine facilities to be eligible for grants. At the markup, Congressman Thompson spoke out against an amendment that would have hurt rural doctors’ ability to use HIT funding. The amendment was eventually defeated.


Thompson also worked closely with committee leadership to make sure that rural communities would be guaranteed their fair share of distressed area bonds. These bonds can be issued by cities and counties to help pay for infrastructure projects and job training programs. As a result of Congressman Thompson’s advocacy, rural areas with lower populations will not be penalized when funds are distributed by the states.


 


The larger package of recovery provisions that will be considered on the House floor next week include unprecedented accountability requirements.


Funds for projects would be distributed through existing formulas to programs with proven track records. How funds are spent, all announcements of contract and grant competitions and awards, and formula grant allocations would be posted on a special Web site created by the president.


This Web site will include explanations from governors, mayors or others making funding decisions personally certifying that the investment has been fully vetted and is an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars.


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