Update From Congressman Greg Gianfortes Desk in Washington DC
House Resources Committee Approve Coal Measures
Nov. 30, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed two bills, one which included an amendment from Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte, that reassert Congress’s role to regulate coal instead of an unelected regulatory regime.
“Bills that will protect Montana jobs, our communities, and affordable electricity from federal overreach today passed the House Natural Resources Committee. For eight years, the Obama administration consistently worked to undermine Montana coal – whether it was a last-minute moratorium on coal leasing or having Washington bureaucrats employ flawed metrics to promote its anti-coal agenda. Unfortunately, we’ve seen how this approach has played out in Montana. It has jeopardized our jobs and threatened our communities.
“The bills passed today will help Montana turn a corner from the war on coal. The bills provide greater certainty to coal miners in our state, including for the more than 2,200 Montanans with coal mining jobs.”
- 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 Transparency and Honesty in Energy Regulations Act of 2017, H.R. 3117, prohibits the use of ambiguous metrics in environmental rulemakings, such as determining the social cost of carbon, social cost of methane and social cost of nitrous oxide.
- Greg offered an amendment to H.R. 3117, which was adopted, that focuses the suggested assessment on the actual project rather than conjecturing on the upstream and downstream production effects. The amendment requires any use of the social cost of carbon metric to exclude the indirect cumulative effects and instead focus exclusively on the proposed action.
The Senate passed a version of tax reform late last week, The House (version passed Nov. 16) and Senate will work in conference committee to reconcile the two bills.
HOUSE TAX REFORM HIGHLIGHTS
- An analysis from the nonpartisan Tax Foundation – creates nearly 2,879 new Montana jobs and increases after-tax income by $2,169 for median Montana households.
- Pro-growth plan to overhaul our nation’s tax code for the first time since 1986.
The legislation ensures hardworking Montanans keep more of what they earn, encourages Montana businesses to invest and hire more workers, and leads to greater economic growth.
- lowers tax rates for low- and middle-income Americans to zero, 12 percent, 25 percent, and 35 percent, while maintaining the current rate for high-income Americans.
- The standard deduction nearly doubles to $24,000 for married couples and $12,000 for individuals.
- establishes a new family credit and also includes an increase of the child tax credit from $1,000 to $1,600.
- preserves home mortgage interest deduction, continues deduction for charitable contributions, retains popular retirement savings options, and continues to allow write off of state and local property taxes.
- limits the maximum tax rate for small business income to 25 percent, the lowest rate on small businesses since World War II.
- lowers the corporate tax rate to 20 percent – down from 35 percent, among the highest in the industrialized world.
- encourages business investment by allowing businesses to immediately write off the full cost of new equipment.
- the bill reduces and ultimately repeals the death tax, which will benefit Montana’s family farmers, ranchers, and small business owners.
More information about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may be found on the Ways and Means Committee’s website and at fairandsimple.gop.
53rd ANNUAL CAPITOL CHRISTMAS TREE
- This year’s Capitol Christmas tree, a 79-foot Engelmann spruce cut from the Kootenai National Forest will be topped with a made-in-Montana star.
- The tree weighs 15,000 pounds, has a diameter of 30 inches and is approximately 76 years old. Over 12-thousand ornaments were created locally and across Montana.
- Larry Spiekermeier, from Plains, MT, of Whitewood Transport, dove the tree, 3400 miles, over 2, weeks, making 20 stops
- Made in Montana Star – first time since the program started in 1970 the “People’s Tree” will have a star built in the same state.
- In August, organizers reached out to The Washington Corporation, the firm drew up plans for an eight-pointed star that would pay homage to Montana, w/ features such as a copper frame and the state flower, a bitterroot, at the center.
- Split Mountain Metals, Belgrade, fabricated the star, spending 3 weeks and more than 1,000 man-hours. Greg visited their shop this past weekend.
- The star is 5-foot and weighs 80-lbs.
- Several customers have come forward asking for small replicas of the topper.
2017 Montana Congressional Veteran Commendation
- Greg created the annual commendation to recognize outstanding Montana veterans who have honorably served our nation and our communities.
- Montanans nominate veterans for the award.
- The 14 recipients for 2017 will receive a special commemorative flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in their honor on Veterans Day.
“I am humbled to represent a state with such a large veteran population, and I am honored to recognize 14 exemplary veterans with the 2017 Montana Congressional Veterans Commendation. Their service and sacrifice for our country as well as their continued dedication to improving our communities merit special recognition in Congress. On behalf of all Montanans, I thank them for their selfless service to country and community.”
2017 Montana Congressional Veteran Commendation Recipients:
Richard “Dick” Allgood of Big Sky – U.S. Air Force; Vietnam War
Gene Bell of Belgrade – U.S. Marine Corps; World War II
William “Bruce” Charles of De Borgia – U.S. Air Force; Vietnam War
Richard Gale of Bozeman – U.S. Marine Corps; Vietnam War
Gary Germundson of Scobey – U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve; Vietnam War
Theron “David” Gertz of Butte – U.S. Navy; 1986-1990
Michael Lawson of Butte – U.S. Marine Corps; Vietnam War
Phillip Lyons of Butte – U.S. Navy and U.S. Navy Reserve; World War II and Korean War
Daniel Ritter of Bozeman – U.S. Marine Corps; Operation Restore Hope
Frank Stoltz of Miles City – U.S. Army Air Corps; World War II
Kevin Strickler of Belgrade – U.S. Marine Corps; 1983-1986
Kyle Sukhbir of Livingston – U.S. Army; Operation Enduring Freedom
Loice “L.A.” Trotter of Libby – U.S. Army Air Corps; World War II
Stanley Watson of Forsyth – U.S. Marine Corps; Vietnam War