Morning Action: IRS is Rewriting Proposed Rules Governing Nonprofit Groups
IRS. The IRS has started rewriting proposed rules governing nonprofits once again:
The IRS said Thursday it will go back and rewrite the proposed rules governing nonprofit groups and political activity, bowing to overwhelming opposition from tea party groups and free speech advocates on both ends of the ideological spectrum who feared the tax agency would hurt political debate.
In a statement, the IRS said it still intends to update its rules but will put off a hearing until after it issues a new version — and gave no timetable for moving ahead.
The Heritage Foundation sheds light on what this news actually means:
“The IRS should not attempt to regulate in areas beyond its expertise and authority,” von Spakovsky said in his analysis of the proposed rules, noting that the agency “is ill-equipped to take on the role of political arbiter that it seems so eager to assume.”
But be warned: IRS officials said their rewrite is “certainly is not starting over and certainly not starting from scratch,” reports Politico. The new proposal should come out next year, and Americans will have to be ready to defend their freedoms – again.
CRONYISM. Mike Needham explains the left and liberal politicians are “among the most supportive of corporate welfare”:
Though it was reported as news, the left’s 2014 blueprint isn’t novel – it is the same strategy they’ve employed with varying degrees of success for decades. The New York Times provides a helpful summary:
House Democrats are reassessing their electoral strategy based on a major internal research project that shows their candidates stand a better chance when they portray Republicans as unsympathetic to the economic situation of working Americans while protecting the wealthy.
If “protecting the wealthy” is code for corporate welfare, then these so-called strategists may want to check some congressional voting records. America’s political left – from Blue Dog Democrats to radical progressives – tend to be among the most supportive of corporate welfare.
WRDA. Congress is sending a water bill the President Obama’s desk for his signature, and they will move to a highway bill next (sub. req’d):
With Congress finally sending a water bill ( HR 3080 ) to the White House, transportation infrastructure advocates might be tempted to celebrate and leave mention of the next challenges for another day. Nope. Those next challenges, of crafting a highway bill this year, are too big. The deadlines — a late-August Highway Trust Fund cash crunch and a Sept. 30 expiration of existing programs — are too close.
That’s why Bud Wright, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, could not avoid the huge next issues as he cheered completion of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014. AASHTO’s members are often much more concerned with highway and transit infrastructure needs, since they all deal with roads, rail and buses every day. They also support and interact with waterway traffic, but not to the same extent.
NDAA. The House has passed the NDAA (sub. req’d):
The chamber voted overwhelmingly Thursday to pass the colossal bill ( HR 4435 ), which sets policies on defense programs. It now includes dozens of new provisions adopted as amendments, all of which were tracked on the House Armed Services site . I’ll mention just a few for now. One would prevent the Pentagon from contracting with Russian contractor Rosoboronexport for purchases of helicopters or other weapons or for any operations and maintenance work. If the secretary of Defense waives the ban, the Pentagon’s inspector general would be required to investigate why.
The bill also would require the Congressional Budget Office to annually update a report on nuclear weapons costs — a provision that could influence the defense budget debate down the road. And it’s worth noting that some provisions that sailed through the House will face resistance in the Senate, including an amendment that would limit funding on implementing the New START reductions until the administration can certify that Russia is adhering to certain treaties and honoring Ukrainian sovereignty.
UI. The Senate is leaving town without having moved forward on an unemployment insurance extension (sub. req’d):
None of the long-shot scenarios for additional Senate action on an unemployment extension materialized before the Senate skipped town for another recess Thursday.
The Senate will not return until June 2 — more than five months after Congress allowed the benefits to expire. Democrats and President Barack Obama agreed to a budget deal that left the benefits on the cutting room floor shortly before they expired, and have been pushing unsuccessfully ever since to revive them.
House Republican leaders have no plans to take up the Senate-passed unemployment benefits extension and only a handful of them are calling for restoring the benefits.
INTERNET TAX. Sen. John Thune (R-SD) 52% has called for a permanent ban on taxing the Internet:
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) called on Congress to pass a bill that would permanently extend a moratorium on taxing the Internet.
“Taxes will be levied if we don’t act by November,” Thune said on the Senate floor Thursday. “Rather than wait for angry constituents, let’s be proactive and pass this bill today.”
Thune said he hopes the Senate takes up the bill when it returns in June from a weeklong Memorial Day recess.
WAR RESOLUTIONS. Lawmakers are frustrated with the Obama Administration’s total lack of guidance on war resolutions:
Republicans and Democrats alike were exasperated this week by the Obama administration’s befuddled effort to address the lingering war resolutions in Iraq and Afghanistan, which remain in effect more than a year after President Obama called for them to be rewritten.
Top Defense and State Department attorneys told Congress that while the 2002 authorization for the Iraq War should be repealed, the 2001 declaration that granted the president powers to go after terrorists worldwide should remain — even though they also said the president could continue fighting terrorism even without it.