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Indy Congressional Tracker: IRS reform and opioid legislation

New IdentityTheft Scam

U.S. Capitol. Public domain image.

Legislative activity has slowed down now that Republicans and Democrats are gearing up for a midterm election and the omnibus funding bill has been approved.

On tax day this week, House leaders, in a bid to reform the IRS, passed a trio of bills meant to supplement the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Of significance was the ability for Congress to codify free file services.

Free File, a service the IRS has long had available, will continue being free to taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of $66,000 or less. A taxpayer can put together and file a federal return through the IRS website using a participating preparer software. Taxpayers with more than $66,000 adjusted gross income can also file for free; they just have to know how to calculate their taxes.

The bill also makes Tax Court judges subject to the same grounds for disqualification as other federal judges.

Next up was the bipartisan Taxpayer First Act. The measure that would overhaul tax administration procedures by requiring the IRS to submit a reorganization plan to Congress. Lawmakers want to improve the customer service experience by streamlining the technology to make it easier for the taxpayer.

Congress made it harder for hackers, scammers and identity thieves to gain access to a taxpayer’s information by passing the 21st Century IRS Act.

To do so, the IRS will now be prohibited from disclosing tax return information to contractors or other agents for companies that do not comply with confidentiality safeguards. The law ensures that the tax agency work with other federal entities and private companies to monitor and protect taxpayers from identity theft and fraud.

Form 1099 is going high-tech. Congress will mandate that the IRS develop and implement an Internet platform for taxpayers filing a 1099 with the tax agency. The portal is to be modeled after the Social Security Administration (SSA) system that allows individuals to file W-2s directly with the SSA.

A chief information officer role has been created to implement these programs as well as a fully automated system for disclosing taxpayer income information to any third-party verifier.

The House approved thProtecting Children from Identity Theft Act to stop identification fraud that uses the identities of children.

Scammers target minors because they have nonexistent or little credit history. This allows them to create profiles with credit reporting agencies which can then be used to authorize accounts.

If the bipartisan solution is passed in the Senate and signed into law, it would limit a child’s exposure to fraud by requiring the SSA to begin accepting electronic signatures as customer consent from financial institutions attempting to verify the identities of potential customers.

The SSA does not use an electronic signature and requires companies to send a physical mail to the SSA for verification.

All the House delegates voted yes for the three bills with the exception of Republican Rep. Mark Amodei who did not vote.

Republican Sen. Dean Heller focused on federal response to the opioid epidemic by co-sponsoring of the Opioid Crisis Response Act. The act reauthorizes grants for states to combat addiction and provide prevention and treatment programs.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicate Nevadans in 2016 died at a higher rate from drug overdoses out pacing homicide deaths 3 to 1. In 2016, 665 Nevadans died from a drug overdose of which fentanyl — a cheap, synthetic opioid that is manufactured to act like heroin and is 30 to 50 times more powerful— accounted for many of the deaths. 

The numbers reflect a national trend that saw 63,632 die from opioid overdose in 2016. In March, Heller introduced a bill to strengthen the penalties for fentanyl distribution and trafficking.

“Potent, cheap, and deadly, fentanyl is destroying families in Nevada and across the country,” said Heller. “This terrifying opioid — lethal in the amount of just a few grains of sand — is being laced with other drugs like heroin and killing Americans at an alarming rate.”

Both of Heller’s bills have a two-pronged approach to help Nevadans who struggle with addiction and fentanyl-related crimes. The legislation implements harsh penalties for dealers and provides federal funds to assist with overcoming addiction.

For a full rundown of the measures the delegates supported or opposed this week, check out The Nevada Independent’s congressional vote tracker and other information below.

SEN. DEAN HELLER

Legislation co-sponsored:

  • S. 2680 – A bill to address the opioid crisis
  • S. 2689 – A bill to provide a taxpayer bill of rights for small businesses
  • S.Res. 472 – A resolution designating April 5, 2018, as “Gold Star Wives Day”
  • S. 1633 – Recreation Not Red-Tape Act
  • S. 2707 – A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide educational resources regarding opioid use and pain management as part of the Medicare & You handbook
  • S.Res. 474 – A resolution relative to the death of the Honorable John Melcher, Senator from the State of Montana
  • S. 2501 – Ski Area Fee Retention Act

 

SEN. CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO

Legislation sponsored:

  • S. 2695 – A bill to require additional disclosures relating to donations to the Presidential Inaugural Committee, and for other purposes
  • S. 2698 – A bill to make necessary reforms to improve compliance with loss mitigation requirements by servicers of mortgages for single family housing insured by the FHA, and for other purposes

Legislation co-sponsored:

  • S. 2488 – Military Hunger Prevention Act
  • S. 2694 – A bill to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to lengthen the statute of limitations for enforcing robocall violations, and for other purposes
  • S.Res. 473 – A resolution expressing no confidence in the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and calling for the immediate resignation of the Administrator
  • S.Res. 474 – A resolution relative to the death of the Honorable John Melcher, Senator from the State of Montana

 

REP. MARK AMODEI

Legislation co-sponsored:

  • H.R. 5171 – Ski Area Fee Retention Act
  • H.R. 5523 – To direct the Attorney General and the Secretary of Education to develop and implement best practices for occupation-specific education for school resource officers
  • H.R. 5556 – To provide for transparency and reporting related to direct and indirect costs incurred by the Bonneville Power Administration, the Western Area Power Administration, the Southwestern Power Administration, and the Southeastern Power Administration related to compliance with any Federal environmental laws impacting the conservation of fish and wildlife, and for other purposes

 

REP. JACKY ROSEN

Legislation sponsored:

  • H.R. 5520 – To authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to use the authority of the Secretary to conduct and support research on the efficacy and safety of medicinal cannabis, and for other purposes.
  • H.R. 5528 – To direct the Secretary of Defense to submit to Congress a plan for improvements to traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress research.
  • H.R. 5571 – To amend subchapter III of chapter 99 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States to repeal increases in duty and a tariff-rate quota on certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, and for other purposes

Legislation co-sponsored:

  • H.R. 5240 – Enhancing Grid Security through Public-Private Partnerships Act
  • H.R. 5476 – To ensure independent investigations and judicial review of the removal of a special counsel, and for other purposes
  • H.R. 2556 – CONNECT for Health Act of 2017
  • H.R. 4509 – No Congressional First Class Flights Act
  • H.R. 5251 – NURSE Act
  • H.Res. 401 – Urging China, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, India, and all nations to outlaw the dog and cat meat trade and to enforce existing laws against the trade
  • H.R. 5553 – To direct the Secretary of Defense to take certain steps to improve the Transition Assistance Program, and for other purposes
  • H.Res. 774 – Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 4760) to amend the immigration laws and the homeland security laws, and for other purposes
  • H.Res. 829 – Recognizing and supporting the goals and ideals of “National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month”
  • H.Res. 834 – Expressing no confidence in the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and calling for the immediate resignation of the Administrator

 

REP. DINA TITUS

Legislation co-sponsored:

  • H.R. 4 – To reauthorize programs of the Federal Aviation Administration, and for other purposes
  • H.R. 5508 – To repeal the prohibition on transfer of articles on the United States Munitions List to the Republic of Cyprus
  • H.Res. 274 – Condemning the Government of Iran’s state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights
  • H.R. 5129 – Global Food Security Reauthorization Act of 2018
  • H.R. 5274 – Global Electoral Exchange Act
  • H.R. 1291 – Washington, D.C. Admission Act
  • H.R. 5520 – To authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to use the authority of the Secretary to conduct and support research on the efficacy and safety of medicinal cannabis, and for other purposes
  • H.R. 5536 – To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to expand the credit for expenditures to provide access to disabled individuals
  • H.Res. 823 – Expressing support for the designation of the week of April 16, 2018, through April 20, 2018, as National Specialized Instructional Support Personnel Appreciation Week
  • H.R. 4265 – Sugar Policy Modernization Act of 2017
  • H.R. 5565 – To require a study of Federal agencies to determine which Federal agencies have the greatest impact on women’s participation in the workforce
  • H.Res. 774 – Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 4760) to amend the immigration laws and the homeland security laws, and for other purposes
  • H.Res. 829 – Recognizing and supporting the goals and ideals of “National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month”
  • H.Res. 834 – Expressing no confidence in the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and calling for the immediate resignation of the Administrator

 

REP. RUBEN KIHUEN

Legislation co-sponsored:

  • H.R. 3030 – Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2017
  • H.R. 5520 – To authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to use the authority of the Secretary to conduct and support research on the efficacy and safety of medicinal cannabis, and for other purposes
  • H.R. 5536 – To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to expand the credit for expenditures to provide access to disabled individuals
  • H.Res. 774 – Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 4760) to amend the immigration laws and the homeland security laws, and for other purposes
  • H.Res. 834 – Expressing no confidence in the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and calling for the immediate resignation of the Administrator
INDY FAST FACTS
Mark Amodei
Job: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District
Party: Republican
In current office: 2011-present
Birthdate: June 12, 1958
Education:
University of Nevada, Reno (B.A.)
University of Pacific (J.D.)
Other public offices held:
Nevada Republican Party chairman (2010-2011)
State senator, Capital District (1998-2010)
Assemblyman (1996-1999)
Total donations: $3,430,447 (2009-2018)
Top donors:
Las Vegas Sands $42,100
Barrick Gold $39,000
Sierra Nevada Corp $36,500
Hartman & Hartman $35,700
American Society of Anesthesiologists $35,000
Last Report: 12/31/17
Credit: Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS
Dina Titus
Job: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
Nevada’s 1st Congressional District
Party: Democrat
In current office: 2013-present
Birthdate: May 23, 1950
Education:
College of William and Mary (B.A.)
University of Georgia (M.A.)
Florida State University, Tallahassee (Ph.D.)
Other public offices held:
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District (2009-2010)
State Senator, District 7 (1989-2008)
Total donations: $8,029,822 (2007-2018)
Top donors: 
MGM Resorts International $131,060
University of Nevada $60,269
Rocky Research $58,300
Carpenters & Joiners Union $57,500
Barrick Gold $52,500
Last Report: 12/31/17
Credit: Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS
Jacky Rosen
Job: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District
Party: Democrat
In current office: 2017-present
Birthdate: August 2, 1957
Education: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (B.A.)
Other public offices held: None
Total donations: $3,220,875 (2017-2018)
Top donors:
EMILY’s List $178,768
League of Conservation Voters $80,270
DE Shaw & Co $66,800
Omni New York $32,400
Varian Medical Systems $23,100
Last Report: 12/31/17
Credit: Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS
Ruben Kihuen
Job: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
Nevada’s 4th Congressional District
Party: Democrat
In current office: 2017-present
Birhdate: April 25, 1980
Education:
University of Nevada, Las Vegas (B.A.)
Other public offices held:
State Senator, District 10 (2010-2016)
State Assemblyman, District 11 (2007-2010)
Total donations: $987,929 (2012-2018)
Top donors:
Naqvi Injury Law $10,800
Border Health $10,000
Jobs, Opportunities & Education PAC $10,000
Tpp Export America $10,000
UNITE HERE $10,000
Last Report: 12/31/2017
Credit:  Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS
Catherine Cortez Masto
Job: U.S. Senator
Party: Democrat
In current office: 2017-present
Birthdate: March 29, 1964
Education:
University of Nevada, Reno (B.A.)
Gonzaga University (J.D.)
Other public offices held:
Nevada State Attorney General (2007-2015)
Total donations: $20,597,201 (2011-2018)
Top donors:
EMILY’s List $565,679
League of Conservation Voters $401,508
J Street $185,558
University of California $76,542
University of Nevada $56,579
Last Report: 12/31/2017
Credit: Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS
Dean Heller
Job: U.S. Senator
Party: Republican
In current office: 2011-present
Birthdate: May 10, 1960
Education: University of Southern California (B.A.)
Other public offices held:
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
Nevada’s 2nd Congressional District (2007-2011)
Nevada Secretary of State (1995-2007)
State Assemblyman (1990-1994)
Total donations: $21,463,574 (2005-2018)
Top donors:
Station Casinos $115,200
Votesane PAC $92,000
MGM Resorts International $74,000
Blackstone Group $48,400
Capital Group $38,800
Credit: Center for Responsive Politics

Source: on 2018-04-21 05:11:15

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