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Wyoming U.S. Delegation Report: December 1, 2017

Wyoming’s U.S. Delegation is working on coal leasing and tax reform as November transitions into December.

• Cheney addresses wants coal leasing moratorium dropped

Liz Cheney (R) Wyoming

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, (R-WY) is moving a bill (H.R. 1178) through the process that would discontinue moratoriums on coal leasing. Rep. Cheney released the following summary on the Legislation: “I’m pleased H.R. 1778, a bill I introduced to ensure no future moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands can be imposed without Congressional approval, passed the House Natural Resources Committee today. For far too long Obama-era energy policies attacked our state’s fossil fuel industry. Coal is a national treasure and President Obama’s war on coal did real damage to the livelihoods of the people and communities in our state. This overdue legislation will protect jobs in my state, prevent future unnecessary drags on economic growth, and ensure continued access to affordable energy for homes and businesses across the United States.”

H.R. 1778 requires congressional approval of any order by the Interior Secretary imposing a moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands. Congress must act within 30 legislative days after the proposed order is received by Congress. The subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, of which Representative Cheney is a member, held a hearing on H.R 1778 at the end of November.

• Barrasso: Tax reform bill repeals health care mandate

John Barrasso (R) Wyoming

U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) said the new tax proposal is “simpler and fairer” and it eliminated a tax penalty. Barrasso offered comments on the new the tax reform bill on the Senate floor at the end of November. The following are exerpts from his remarks: “This week we’re debating the Republican tax relief plan. There’s a lot to like in this legislation. It gives tax cuts to hard-working American families. It makes taxes simpler, and fairer. It makes American businesses more competitive around the world. It makes our economy stronger here at home. Well that’s all good news for our country – and for the American people. There’s other good news in this legislation, and it’s something I continued to hear about at home over the Thanksgiving recess in Wyoming, is that it wipes out the Obamacare insurance mandate tax. This is the tax penalty that the Obama health care law forced on the American people. Under the Republican plan, people would no longer have to pay a tax penalty to the IRS if they didn’t want the Democrats’ expensive health insurance – or if they just couldn’t afford it. We’ve seen health insurance premiums skyrocket over the past few years in this country, and it’s because of the way Democrats wrote the health care law. The costs as well as the deductibles are so high that many people find that even if they have paid for the expensive insurance, the deductible is so high, that they still can’t afford to get the care they need. The law says that no matter how expensive the insurance gets, or how unusable it is for that individual, people by law, still have to buy it or pay a tax. Families ought to be able to make decisions about what they want to buy and what works for them –not the government. I believe if people don’t want to buy the Obamacare insurance, they shouldn’t have to pay a tax penalty to the IRS.”

• Enzi says the tax reforms will strengthen the economy

Mike Enzi (R) Wyoming

Senator Mike Enzi(R-WY) says the tax reform bill “would help grow the economy, create jobs and ensure that Americans are not missing available tax relief.” Speaking on the Senate floor this week, the U.S. Senator said, “We need tax reform that will make our system simpler and fairer and allow people to keep more of what they earn.” He said the bill would provide relief to small and family-owned businesses, which currently employ the majority of the private sector in Wyoming. 
He continued, “This tax plan is an investment in hardworking Americans – one that would produce a stronger and more competitive American economy,” Enzi said.

Enzi helped pass a budget earlier this year that would offset tax cuts by relying on economic growth and sensible fiscal restraint. Enzi highlighted that if the economy reached 3.2 percent growth on average under the new tax plan, part of the debt would be paid down from the extra revenue generated. The legislation includes language to advance American energy security by opening up a small section of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for potential oil and gas exploration. Enzi noted that while the ANWR region is the size of South Carolina, the potential area for oil exploration included in the bill is smaller than the airport in Fargo, North Dakota.

Enzi also refuted claims that the process for passing the bill had not been open and transparent. He emphasized that along with following regular order in committee and an open amendment process that allows senators to offer changes, the Senate Finance Committee has held 70 hearings on improving the tax code over the last six years.

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