Spending and Tax Cut Measures Include Conservative Priorities and Benefits to Illinois
Congressman John Shimkus (R, Illinois-15) voted this week to extend expiring tax cuts and fund the federal government through FY2016. The tax extenders bill passed 318-109 on Thursday and the omnibus appropriations bill passed 316-113 on Friday.
"Nobody thinks these massive, last-minute agreements are perfect or that they're the way Congress should go about the people's business. Both bills include provisions I support and some I oppose." said Shimkus. "But to paraphrase President Reagan: getting 80 percent of a deal is a pretty good deal. We can't allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good -- and there is more good than bad to be found for the people of our state in these bills."
Illinois farmers scored major wins in the two measures.
"The tax bill permanently extends the Section 179 expensing option for small businesses, allowing farmers to immediately deduct investments in new equipment or property on their tax returns," said Shimkus. "Biodiesel production in Danville also stands to benefit from the extension of the biodiesel tax credit through 2016, and American consumers escape $1 billion in Canadian and Mexican retaliatory tariffs with the repeal of country of origin labeling (COOL) requirements."
On Wednesday, Shimkus addressed the House in support of another provision that benefits Illinois' marginal oil producers. Illinois is the 15th largest oil producing state.
"Ending the outdated ban on American crude oil exports deals a major blow to President Obama's relentless attack on fossil fuels. We can't allow our energy policy to remain stuck in 1970s scarcity thinking at a time when the United States has emerged as the world's top energy producer," said Shimkus. "Lifting the Carter-era ban on crude oil exports will create jobs here at home and strengthen our allies abroad."
The two measures also advanced a number of conservative policy priorities.
"The omnibus holds the EPA to pre-Obama funding levels and its lowest staffing level since 1989," Shimkus said. "It contains no new funding for Obamacare and freezes most IRS operations."
A staunch defender of the right to life, Shimkus also specifically highlighted the numerous anti-abortion provisions included in the omnibus.
"This bill prohibits taxpayer funded abortions, bans gene editing of human embryos, and maintains the Hyde Amendment," Shimkus said. "It also requires Obamacare insurance plans to inform policy holders if their plan covers abortions -- something I've been using my position on the Energy and Commerce Committee to fight the Obama Administration on since 2013 -- and prevents discrimination against healthcare providers who refuse to provide, pay for, or refer abortions."
Finally, with Americans' fear of terrorism at its highest since the weeks following 9/11, the spending bill takes crucial steps to protect the homeland.
"My top responsibility as a Member of Congress is to keep our country safe. A vote against the omnibus would be a vote to deny our fighting men and women the resources they need to wage the Global War on Terror, and to allow terrorists to enter the U.S. without even applying for a visa," said Shimkus. "In this dangerous world that's simply irresponsible."
The omnibus includes the House-passed bill to strengthen the Visa Waiver Program and prevents terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay from being transferred to the United States.