This week Congress finished its work for the year by passing a two-bill package that will avoid a government shutdown and extend several expiring tax provisions. President Trump signed each of the bills today. The following outlines provisions of the FY2020 spending deal that go beyond traditional appropriations.
- Repeals three tax provisions from the Affordable Care Act: the “Cadillac” tax, which places a 40% fee on high-end health plans, the medical devices tax, and the health insurer tax.
- Provides for automatic reenrollment in health exchange plans if a new plan is not selected.
- Extends programs for outreach, enrollment, and education activities for low-income Medicare beneficiaries seeking insurance coverage; activities related to quality measurement and performance improvement in the Medicare and Medicaid programs; a program to reimburse hospitals for the costs of searching for donors and acquiring cells and bone marrow.
- Raises the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.
- Extends through May 22, 2020, community health centers funding.
- Extends for two years Medicaid funding for U.S. territories at a match rate of 76% for Puerto Rico and 83% for the other territories.
- Extends for 10 years the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.
- Authorizes transfer of general fund revenues to shore up the 1974 UMWA pension plan. The bill includes the Bipartisan American Miners Act to prevent insolvency of the 1974 UMWA Pension Plan. The measure also protects health benefits for miners impacted by coal company bankruptcies that took place in 2018 and 2019. CBO estimates the provisions would on net cost $4.5 billion over 10 years.
- Extends for seven years the Export-Import Bank.
- Extends for seven years Terrorism Risk Insurance Program.
- Extends through Sept. 30, 2020, the National Flood Insurance Program.
- Retroactively extends for 2019 through 2020 more than two dozen temporary tax provisions that expired at the end of 2018 and extends others that are about to expire at the end of 2019. These include several energy-related extenders, tuition, and medical expense tax deductions, credits for efforts in economic and community development, and disaster tax relief.
- It also provides tax relief to individuals and businesses who have been harmed by certain hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters, and it corrects two provisions in the 2017 tax law (PL 115-97). One such “technical correction” would benefit churches and other nonprofits who provide employee parking; the other would benefit rural electric cooperatives in danger of losing their tax-exempt status.
- Reauthorizes four visa programs and the E-verify employment eligibility verification system, including the Conrad-30 program for foreign doctors, the EB-5 investor visa regional center program, and the religious workers program. The measure also allows the Homeland Security secretary to add more H-2B visas to the 66,000 H-2B visas currently authorized annually.
- Extends for two years the Secure Rural Schools program, which provides funding for rural forest counties that are struggling to fund essential services. CBO estimates the provision would cost $320 million over 10 years.
- Extends the temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) program and the Child Care Entitlement to States through May 22, 2020.
- Includes retirement savings legislation the “SECURE Act” (HR 1994), a bill that passed in the House on a 417-3 vote earlier this year but had stalled in the Senate. The bill rewards businesses with tax credits for creating new 401(k) accounts and allows workers to wait until age 72 before drawing down retirement funds, among other things.
- Reauthorizes the national poison center network program through FY 2024.
- Includes the Kay Hagan Tick Act, which requires the Health and Human Services Department to ensure the development and implementation of a national strategy for vectorborne diseases, including tick-borne diseases.
- Reauthorizes funding for maintenance, repair, security, and capital projects at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
- Includes the Television Viewer Protection Act which makes permanent the requirement that multichannel video programming distributors and television broadcasters negotiate retransmission consent in good faith.
- Renames the National Library Service as the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, and expands services to the reading disabled population.
- Provides for a U.S. contribution to the capital increase for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank).
- Includes the Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act, which deepens U.S. security and energy relationships in the Eastern Mediterranean region, including authorizing security assistance for Cyprus and Greece and lifting arms restrictions on Cyprus.
- Ensures continued U.S. access to the International Space Station by extending a waiver allowing the U.S. to continue to obtain needed Space Station-related goods and services from Russia, including allowing U.S. astronauts to fly on Russian launch vehicles.
- Authorizes the State Department to provide U.S. government personnel with brain injuries and cognitive issues stemming from health incidents that occurred during their service in Cuba and China with additional benefits if their worker’s compensation or primary insurance does not cover their prescribed care.
- Requires the FBI, in coordination with the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), to declassify any information about whether the Saudi government has assisted Saudi nationals charged with or investigated for crimes in the United States and have fled the country.
- Includes the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act, which provides American victims of international terrorism with additional legal grounds on which to pursue justice in U.S. courts against perpetrators or supporters of terrorist attacks.
- Extends the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom for three years.
- Includes the European Energy Security and Diversification Act, which authorizes financing to catalyze public and private sector investment in strategically important energy projects in European and Eurasian countries in order to counter Russia’s Nord Stream gas pipeline.
- Includes the Global Fragility Act, which authorizes funds to improve the coordination and effectiveness of U.S. government programs to stabilize conflict-affected areas, address global fragility, and lead international efforts to prevent extremism.
* Sources: Senate Appropriations Committee Staff. HR1865 Domestic Intl Asst Package Summary. 16 Dec. 2019, www.appropriations.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/121619%20–%20HR1158%20Natl%20Security%20Package%20Summary.pdf.
CQ Staff. “Fact Sheet No. 116-19, Eight-Bill Full Year Appropriations Package.” CQ, 17 Dec. 2019, plus.cq.com/doc/har-5795082?3.
Senate Appropriations Committee staff. SUMMARY OF H.R. 1865 FY2020 Consolidated Domestic and International Assistance Package. 16 Dec. 2019, www.appropriations.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/121619%20–%20HR1865%20Domestic%20Intl%20Asst%20Package%20Summary.pdf.