PoliticsHouse votes to ease rules for IRAs, makes fixes to tax law
Maine Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote
The Maine Senate has passed a bill that would award the state's Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote in a presidential election.The Bangor Daily News reports that the state chamber approved the bill in a 19-16 vote on Tuesday.If passed by the state House and signed by Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D), the state would become the latest to join National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which is an agreement among a number of states to give their electoral college votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the popular vote. So far, 14 states and Washington D.C.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation that relaxes the rules for retirement savers and corrects an unintended side effect of the 2017 tax law that hit children of military members who died in combat with higher-than-expected tax bills.
The bill, which passed Thursday with a vote of 417-3, delays until 72 the age at which retirees must start withdrawing from individual retirement accounts and removes the age limit at which taxpayers must stop contributing. Now taxpayers have to stop contributing to such accounts at age 70 1/2 and begin taking distributions. An amendment recently added to the bill also reverses an error in the 2017 tax law that had caused military families, known as “Gold Star” families to owe much higher taxes on survivor benefits.
A Kansas police officer is sharing care packages with victimized children to ease their pain
Sarah Moreno says offering stuffed animals, baseball cards and a way to connect can make things easier for traumatized children.
The retirement legislation passed the House Ways and Means Committee last month. The bill has broad bipartisan support, making it one of the few pieces of legislation this year that might be approved by the Senate and signed into law. In addition to increasing the age limit for required minimum distributions, the bill also makes it easier for companies to unite and form joint retirement plans, and attempts to incentivize the creation of such plans for part-time workers and small businesses.
Before Thursday’s vote, some Republicans expressed frustration that the House late in the process stripped from the bill a provision that would allow parents to use education-savings plans to pay for some home-schooling expenses.
House Freedom Caucus votes to condemn Amash's impeachment comments
The conservative House Freedom Caucus took an official position condemning Rep. Justin Amash's (R-Mich.) call for impeachment on Monday evening, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told reporters."We had a good discussion and every single member, I think now based on who was there and our board meeting was probably over 30 members, every single member disagrees and strongly with the position Justin took over the week, and we're focused on the now," he said. "I mean, look, we're focused on the fact that what the FBI did was wrong.
Retirement policy has long been a priority for Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, who took control of the tax-writing committee this year. Neal has said Thursday’s bill won’t be the last time he tries to work with Representative Kevin Brady, the senior Republican on the committee, to modify the retirement system.
“This is the most substantive promotion of retirement savings in the last 15 years,” Neal said on the House floor before the vote.
However, at least some of the committee’s work for the remainder of 2019 is likely to be overwhelmed by the higher-profile battle for President Donald Trump’s tax returns. Neal helms one of only three committees that the law empowers to request individual taxpayers’ information. Neal invoked the power last month and followed with a subpoena this month. So far Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin hasn’t complied on the grounds that the Department of Justice says the request violates the Constitution. That means Neal will likely take the executive branch to court.
Inside the White House, a muted response to Mueller but concern about creeping impeachment.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters, "We're always prepared, but I don't think the American people deserve that." And while Mueller put the impeachment ball squarely in Congress's court, one senior administration official described the response Wednesday afternoon as "pretty muted." Aides received a heads-up Tuesday night about Mueller's remarks — and while they did not know the exact language of his statement until delivery, multiple officials downplayed the remarks as nothing new.
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