The Senate convened on Tuesday, June 21, for three days of legislative business before adjourning for the weekend. The House of Representatives were expected to meet for five days this week, but adjourned early Thursday morning at 4:00 AM in. Both chambers considered different budget and appropriation policies and legislation this week — gun control was a reoccurring issue among the many bills that were considered.
Featured Issue: Tax Blueprint
On Friday, June 24, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) released a tax blueprint. The blueprint provides fresh policy ideas including a new tax bracket system. The system for individuals breaks down into three brackets, with the highest individual tax rate set at 33%. Capitol gains and dividends would be taxed at 25%. The business tax system would also change under the blueprint, with pass-through entities and sole proprietorships maximum tax rate at 25% and large businesses subject to a 20% tax rate, a significant drop from the current corporate tax rate of 35%. These significant decreases in corporate tax rates represent an effort to repatriate foreign earnings and halt the recent wave of inversions. Ways and Means is soliciting comments and dialogue to improve the blueprint, and will begin drafting rules for a transition from the current tax code to this Republican-proposed system in the next six months.
The Senate returns on Monday, June 27, for legislative business before adjourning on Thursday, June 30. The House of Representatives is in recess and will not be back until July 5. Senators are poised to shift away from the Commerce-Justice-Science spending bill that has been the vehicle for gun policy votes. The Senate is expected to take up the Zika response package and fiscal 2017 Military Construction-VA appropriations bill passed by the House on Thursday, but appears to lack the votes amid strong Democratic opposition.
On Thursday, June 23, the United Kingdom decided in a nationwide referendum to leave the European Union. The White House commented that it respects the UK’s decision and looks forward to continued economic and political relations with both the UK and the European Union. Great Britain, as a member of NATO, will continue to work closely with the US on matters of foreign security and economic policy. As for the European Union, the White House said it would continue to support the EU to promote stability, stimulate economic growth, and foster the spread of democratic values across the continent and beyond.