U.S. Congresswoman Herrera Beutler | E-Newsletter
District Update | December 19, 2015 Click here if you have trouble viewing this email
U.S. Congresswoman Herrera Beutler
Sales tax deduction made permanent - $602 in savings per family

I have long fought for the permanent extension of the state and local sales tax deduction and I'm pleased to say it was passed by both the House and the Senate this week.

At a time when several counties in Southwest Washington are still in economic recovery, we need to make sure families who have already dutifully paid their taxes can keep a little more of their money.

This permanent extension will eliminate the uncertainty that individuals and families face each year with one-year extensions of the provision by Congress. Click here to read more.

Transportation for our region
This month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a final five-year, bipartisan transportation package. The responsible legislation does not raise the gas tax, streamlines inefficiencies, prioritizes safety, and provides certainty for cities and states to plan much needed transportation projects.  The U.S. Senate also approved the bill, and the President has signed it into law.

Local buses get a boost:  I led the effort to restore funding for buses in our region, and throughout the country, by sponsoring an amendment to the U.S. House version of the transportation bill in November. As a result, the final House-Senate funding agreement includes an additional $1.5 billion for the Bus and Bus Facilities Competitive Grant program for which Southwest Washington transit agencies can compete to improve bus services for Southwest Washington transit commuters. Read more about the amendment and watch my floor speech here.

The bill also includes a bipartisan proposal to ensure that bridges within the Columbia River Gorge within national scenic areas are eligible for federal transportation grants, and higher standards for trains carrying oil.
Education for parents about prenatal Screenings

I’m pleased to report that my prenatal screening education bill is gaining momentum in Congress! Last week, the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing to discuss the bill, which is an essential step toward becoming law. Over the last few years, prenatal screenings have become part of the pre-delivery medical routine for many parents-to-be. However, these screenings are not diagnostic, since they are not reliable enough to confirm an abnormality. Studies have revealed that screenings can produce false alarms up to 50% of the time. This bipartisan bill seeks to improve parents’ understanding of the limitations and benefits of prenatal screening provided during pregnancy. Click here for more information.

Year-end agreement blocks tax hikes, includes wildfire fighting resources, addresses veteran wait times, and includes other Southwest Washington priorities

Yesterday, the U.S. House passed the fiscal year 2016 government spending bill. This deal was far from perfect, but we had two options: support this agreement that had several strong wins for Southwest Washington communities, or reject it in favor of an autopilot spending extension that includes no reforms and cedes all spending control to this presidential administration. While there were certainly a number of tasks that were left undone, like putting a permanent halt to the EPA’s attempt to regulate all ponds and ditches, I won’t cease fighting for them when Congress reconvenes in January.

As a result of this bill, the Portland VA will be required to investigate and address staff turnover issues that have led to 30-plus day wait times for Southwest Washington veterans. Individuals and families here will be spared from the burden of some of the health care law’s biggest tax increases. I fought to successfully include important safeguards against federal land acquisitions in Skamania County that don’t have the support of the local community. Resources to fight and prevent wildfires were increased, which are so critical given the devastating wildfires that have hit our forests. Click here to read more about the Southwest Washington priorities included in this bill. 

COLUMBIAN: Women in Politics: State and the Union

Jaime Herrera Beutler successfully secures increased funding for Southwest Washington public transit

Connect to Congress: Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler

NY TIMES: E.P.A. Broke Law With Social Media Push for Water Rule, Auditor Finds
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