WASHINGTON, DC. – This week, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-2) voted on legislation to end the 40-year old ban on crude oil exports, permanently allow Texans to deduct their state and local sales taxes, increase defense spending to combat ISIS and radical Islamic terror and provide care for our veterans and 9/11 first responders. The legislation also guts many of the Administration’s unconstitutional actions and political priorities (detailed list below).
“Ending the ban on crude oil exports is a huge win for Texas and Houston, the energy capital of the world,” said Poe. “The impact cannot be understated: it will change the global dynamic of our world’s energy. Here at home, it will create thousands of jobs, bring in billions in new tax revenue, and boost our nation’s energy security. Around the world, it helps to end the economic stranglehold that Russia and the Middle East have on our allies. Now the United States can compete on the world market with OPEC.”
In addition, the legislation makes the deduction for sales tax in Texas permanent. The tax code currently favors states that have a state income tax, but that now changes. “Making the sales tax deduction permanent means more money in every taxpaying Texan’s wallet,” said Poe.
These two provisions were included in separate amendments that will pass the Senate and be signed into law. Overall, the legislation includes a number of conservative victories and will help grow the Texas economy. Previously, the House acted to defund Planned Parenthood and halt the President’s refugee resettlement program. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has committed in writing to take up the refugee resettlement issue in early January, and I have joined Senator Ted Cruz to empower State Governors to refuse refugees until they are thoroughly vetted.
A large appropriations package was necessary because the Senate failed to take up a single appropriations bill that passed the House.
Provisions in the Amendment to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act
Funds Texas-Made F-35s; Increases Defense and National Security Funding to Fight ISIS and Radical Islamic Jihad
- Provides funding that allows 68 of our Texas-manufactured F-35s to help defeat ISIS; includes a 1.3% pay raise for our military; prohibits the transfer or release of any individuals detained at Gitmo; prohibits the use of sensitive missile defense data to be shared with Russia; provides funds needed for shipbuilding to complete the Navy’s fleet; and includes Rep. Poe’s legislation to require the president to submit a plan on how to defeat ISIS.
Strengthens Visa Waiver Program to Protect us From Terrorists; Targets Sanctuary Cities; and Increases Border Security Funding
- Strengthens visa waiver program to protect us from terrorists; increases funds for the FBI to combat terrorism; prohibits any future “Fast and Furious” operations by preventing the federal government from distributing weapons to drug cartels; strengthens a federal program (SCAAP) to help state and localities with the costs of incarcerating illegal alien criminals; directs ICE to detain illegal immigrants until they can be deported; funds our Border Patrol agents as well as border security and air operations, ensuring round-the-clock surveillance of air, land, and sea approaches to the border and maintaining no less than 95,000 operational flight hours for law enforcement and surveillance; withholds funds from DHS until ICE informs Congress of its efforts to combat sanctuary cities; and funds efforts to combat human trafficking.
Protects the 2nd Amendment:
- Prohibits implementation of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, includes authority to import firearms into the U.S. and to export firearms to Canada without a license, and excludes so-called gun-control measures.
Stops Insurance Company Bailout; Funds Cancer Research and Provides Care for 9/11 Responders:
- Stops the Obamacare insurance company bailout by eliminating the “risk-corridors” program; defunds the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB, the so-called “death panels”); increases funding for the National Institutes of Health, the world’s largest funder of medical research; and reauthorizes a program to provide health care benefits to our nation’s first responders, some of whom are from Texas, who suffered injuries or illnesses attributed to the 9/11 attacks.
Safeguards Pro-Life Measures:
- Prohibits taxpayer dollars from being spent on abortions and abortion services; protects conscience rights in healthcare coverage by prohibiting Obamacare’s mandate to cover abortion; and includes a ban on creating embryos for research purposes.
Increases Oversight over VA:
- Expands oversight of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department’s Office of Inspector General; increases funding to end the VA’s disability compensation claims backlog; and increases funds for VA medical services in order to make sure they get the care that our nation promised and that they need.
Adds Flexibility and Addresses Abuse in Federal Benefits:
- Provides schools with more flexibility in the school lunch program with exemptions from certain strict requirements; seeks to ensure that WIC and SNAP benefits are only made available to eligible participants; and requires USDA to work with states to ensure compliance with federal benefit eligibility.
Cuts EPA Funding and Restores NASA Funding:
- Cuts funding for the EPA to its lowest level since 2008; restores funding for NASA to its highest level in years; blocks any new EPA regulation of non-navigable waters; allows the sale of incandescent light bulbs, which was prohibited in 2008; and increases oversight of climate-change research.
- Makes permanent the deduction of state and local sales taxes
- Makes permanent the deduction for teachers who pay out-of-pocket for school supplies
- Suspends the medical device tax that was included in Obamacare
- Prohibits the IRS from targeting nonprofit organizations for political purposes
- Excludes mortgage debt that has been forgiven and would otherwise count as taxable income
- Extends deduction of mortgage insurance premium for a personal residence
- Renews deduction for higher-education expenses
- Allows a tax credit of as much as $2,500 per year for qualified tuition and related expenses (The American Opportunity Tax Credit)
- Reduces individual tax liability by $1,000 per qualifying child under age 17 (The Child Tax Credit)
- Increases monthly tax exclusion for employer-provided transit benefits
- Makes permanent the research tax credit for a broad range of industries
- Makes permanent 5 charity-related tax provisions that would have expired on December 31, 2014
- Enhances deduction for businesses to donate food inventory to charities
- Expands deduction for charitable contributions of real property made for conservation purposes
- Excludes military housing allowances from an individual’s gross income
- Renews bonus depreciation for businesses