Among the recent issues that Congress addressed during the last week were Medicare payments to physicians, the high-cost mortgages of manufactured houses, and state and local sales tax deductions. Following are how Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio and House Representative Gwen Graham, of the 2nd Congressional District, voted on the various issues. Included also, for the sake of Madison County voters in District 3, are the votes of Congressman Ted Yoho. On the Senate side: Medicare Payments to Physicians: The Senate passed a bill by a vote of 92 to 8 that would repeal the sustainable growth rate formula and replace it with a system in which physicians could choose to participate in one of two reimbursement methods. One is where their payments would be subject to adjustments, based on performance; in the other they would move away from the fee-for-service structure. The bill provides for a 10-year transition period under which Medicare reimbursement rates would gradually increase annually until 2020 and then remain stable for five years. The bill is cleared for the president. Nelson voted yes and Rubio voted no. On the House side: Manufactured Housing High-Cost Mortgages: The House passed a bill, 263 to 162 (with six abstentions), that would modify federal rules regarding high-cost-mortgages as they apply to manufactured housing, specifically by changing the definitions of “high-cost mortgage” and “mortgage originator” under federal law to reduce associated regulatory requirements. The measure would change the definition of high-cost mortgage by increasing the maximum rates and fees that a lender may charge on loans for manufactured housing without that mortgage being considered a high-cost mortgage. Graham voted yes; and in District 3, Yoho also voted yes. State and Local Sales Tax Deductions: The House voted 272 to 152 (with seven abstentions) to pass a bill that would make permanent the ability of taxpayers to deduct state and local sales taxes in lieu of state and local income taxes, which are set to expire at the end of 2014. The measure would be effective for tax years beginning with 2015. Graham voted yes; in District 3, Yoho likewise voted yes. Estate Tax Repeal: The House voted 240 to 179 (with 12 abstentions) to pass a bill that would repeal the federal estate tax. The measure also would repeal the generation-skipping transfer tax and reduce the top marginal rate for the federal gift tax from 40 percent to 35 percent. Graham voted no. Yoho voted yes. Bills coming up for votes include one that would provide justice for victims of trafficking, another that would improve enforcement efforts related to prescription drug diversion and abuse, and two others that would promote energy efficiency and protect the country’s cybersecurity networks, respectively.
Keeping tabs on Congressional lawmakers, 2nd and 3rd Districts