Winners and Losers in the Omnibus and Tax Bills
Both Democrats and Republicans won a few and lost a few in the $1.1 trillion spending bill and package of tax extensions that congressional negotiators agreed on late Tuesday.
Here is a look at some of the winners and losers in the agreements:
Pelosi Slams ‘Immoral’ Tax Breaks
Crude oil crowd:
Lawmakers advocating to lift the prohibition on crude oil exports emerged as perhaps the biggest winners. It’s largely a win in the Republican column, but Democrats like Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota have long pushed colleagues to change the policy.
“This deal to lift the 40-year old ban on exporting oil is a huge win for North Dakota and it reinforces the importance of good-faith, bipartisan negotiations and legislating,” Heitkamp said in a statement.
Syrian refugees: They won’t face additional hurdles in their effort to seek asylum in the U.S. since the House bill to enhance the refugee certification process didn’t make it into the final package.
Marijuana advocates: Two existing policy riders banning federal interference in states’ medical Marijuana laws and industrial hemp research programs were continued.
“This is the second year in a row that Congress is using the appropriations process to tell federal agents and prosecutors not to interfere with state medical marijuana laws,” said Tom Angell of the Marijuana Majority. “But so far, the Department of Justice has taken the absurd position that these spending provisions don’t actually prevent them from going after patients and providers who operate legally under state policies. The intent of Congress is clear, and so is the will of the American people.”
Capitol Police: They got a $27 million increase, which was between $6 million and $9 million more than the original bills.
Former Librarian James Billington: He was named Librarian of Congress Emeritus in the bill and can receive some administrative services from the library.
Electric car owners: The bill directs the AOC to build battery-charging stations at the Library of Congress for electric cars.
Capitol Hill sledders: Last year, neighborhood kids defied a sledding ban at the Capitol and slid down the snow on the West Front. The spending package extended a provision House appropriators attached in April, which urged the Capitol Police Board to allow sledding. The language urges, not directs, the board to look the other way if sledders converge at the top of the Hill this winter, so it remains to be seen if they’ll be “grinches” this time.
Washington Metro riders: The omnibus includes a $150 million contribution from the federal government for the D.C.-area metro system, fully restoring the annual contribution after House appropriators previously moved to cut a third of its federal funding.
D.C. marijuana users: The omnibus continues to ban D.C. from implementing the ballot initiative passed earlier this year that legalized recreational marijuana.
Conservatives: They were not successful in attaching a provision to prevent the District of Columbia from carrying out an anti-discrimination law that the House moved to formally block earlier this year.
The electronic cigarette industry saw a defeat in an effort to block the Food and Drug Administration from implementing some regulations on their products.
“This deal protects cigarette markets,” said Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association. “Congressional leaders have squandered a real opportunity to benefit both public health and small businesses across the country. The perverse outcome of this failure to act is that smoke-free vapor products will be treated far more harshly by the FDA than deadly tobacco cigarettes ever have been.”
Civil libertarians: The cybersecurity bill didn’t include the kinds of protections favored by organizations like the ACLU.
“Once again, members of Congress are using the government funding bill to pursue their extremist agendas,” said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU. “Sneaking damaging and discriminatory riders into a must-pass bill usurps the democratic process and is irresponsible.”
Bridget Bowman, Emma Dumain, Niels Lesniewski and Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.
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