Trump Promises New Tax Cuts for Everyone

Trump Promises New Tax Cuts for Everyone

Sipa USA
By Yuval Rosenberg and Michael Rainey
Monday, May 13, 2024

Happy Monday! Congressional lawmakers are back tomorrow, with the House facing a Friday deadline to pass the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization that the Senate approved last week. We’ve got details on that and much more, so read on!

House to Take Up $105 Billion FAA Reauthorization Bill

The House this week is set to take up the $105 billion bill passed by the Senate late on Thursday that would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board for another five years.

Following the passage of a short-term extension last week, which headed off the potential furlough of more than 3,000 federal employees over the weekend, lawmakers face a new deadline of midnight Friday this week.

The bill would make it easier for customers to get refunds from airlines when flights are delayed or canceled. It also includes a controversial provision that would increase the number of landing slots at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, which is opposed by some Washington-area Democrats but supported by many Republicans. The bill is expected to come to a vote under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority to pass.

Here are some of the key provisions of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2024:

* $66.7 billion for FAA operations, including safety programs and training and hiring of more air traffic controllers;

* $17.8 billion for FAA facilities and equipment, including modernization of equipment and technologies;

* $19.35 billion for FAA airport infrastructure improvements, to be distributed through grants to the nation’s more than 3,300 airports;

* $1.59 billion for FAA research, engineering and development;

* $738 million to the NTSB;

* Requires voice cockpit recorders to cover a 25-hour period, up from the current 2 hours;

* Establishes right to refunds, applying to domestic flights after a 3-hour delay and international flights after a 6-hour delay;

* Establishes minimum duration for flight credits, which must be valid for at least 5 years from issuance;

* Prohibits fees for family seating, allowing families to select contiguous seats without charge;

* Requires clear standards for reimbursement of expenses when flights are delayed or canceled.

After it passed the upper chamber, Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, who leads the Commerce Committee, celebrated the complex bill. “This is a big moment for aviation,” she said. “We have had safety issues and concerns that we need to make a big investment. This legislation is that investment — in safety standards, in protecting consumers and advancing a work force and technology that will allow the United States to be the gold standard in aviation.”

Quote of the Day: Trump Promises New Tax Cuts for Everyone

“Instead of a Biden tax hike, I’ll give you a Trump middle class, upper class, lower class, business class big tax cut.”

− Former president and current Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, speaking at a rally in Wildwood, New Jersey, this past weekend. Trump was reportedly comparing his fiscal agenda with that of President Joe Biden, who has pledged to raise taxes on corporations and wealthy households while maintaining the 2017 individual tax cuts for those earning less than $400,000 a year.

“Trump’s comments on Saturday shed some more light on his emphasis on cutting taxes across the board, including for top earners and businesses,” Bloomberg notes. “The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has yet to release a formal tax plan.”

US Records $210 Billion Budget Surplus in April

Driven by a surge of individual tax receipts, the U.S. Treasury reported a budgetary surplus of $210 billion for the month of April. The surplus, which is not unusual for the month in which millions of people pay their annual tax bill, was 19% larger than the surplus recorded in April a year ago.

Outlays in April were $567 billion, about 23% larger than in April 2023. Bolstered by $482 billion in individual tax payments, receipts were $776 billion, 22% larger than a year ago.

The monthly surplus reduced the total deficit for the first seven months of the fiscal year to $855 billion. The cumulative annual deficit is about 19% smaller this year than it was in 2023.

At the same time, interest costs have soared. The U.S. paid $514 billion in net interest in the first seven months of the 2024 fiscal year, a 41% increase over the amount paid in the same period a year earlier. At this point, the U.S. has spent more on interest in the current fiscal year than it has on defense ($498 billion) or Medicare ($465 billion).

Bloomberg’s Viktoria Dendrinou reports that the average interest rate on total U.S. government debt was 3.23% at the end of April — an increase of 0.65 percentage points in the last year, and the highest since 2010.

Biden Admin Looks to Promote Its Infrastructure Wins

The Biden administration is celebrating this year’s “Infrastructure Week” by sending officials including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and acting Labor Secretary Julie Su to various locations to promote the hundreds of billions of dollars being invested for roads and bridges, clean water and energy and high-speed internet access.

The White House says that $454 billion in bipartisan infrastructure law funding has been announced to date, and it released an updated map detailing the more than 56,000 projects that have been identified or started. The administration also issued state-by-state fact sheets laying out information and talking points for local pols.

The spending challenge: A Politico analysis published last week found that, of the $1.1 trillion provided for direct climate, energy and infrastructure investments under Biden’s four major legislative achievements, less than 17% has been spent as of April. These types of projects take time to vet and approve, and as Politico explained, “there can be a big gap between announcing a spending decision and actually distributing the money.”

The political challenge: A related Politico-Morning Consult poll released last week found that voters don’t know much about Biden’s four signature laws: the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act; the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, more commonly known as the bipartisan infrastructure law; the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022; and the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. “Majorities of poll respondents said they haven’t seen, read or heard anything or much about three of Biden’s four major spending laws,” Politico’ Steven Shepard reported. And the one law that most people have heard about, the Inflation Reduction Act, just barely edged past 50% awareness, with 17% saying they had heard “a lot” about it, and 35% saying they’d heard “some” about it.

The poll also found that relatively few voters say they are seeing the benefits of Biden’s laws. Just 26% said that federal spending on infrastructure in their community has had a “major impact,” while another 26% said it had a “minor impact” and 30% said it had “no impact.”

As you might expect, there’s also a strong partisan divide over the Biden laws. Even though “Infrastructure Week” became a running joke under former President Donald Trump — and even though Biden has repeatedly sought to contrast his infrastructure successes with Trump’s failures on the issue — a large majority of Republicans (70%) and sizable portion of independents (34%) still give Trump more credit for promoting “infrastructure improvements and job creation.”

The bottom line: Biden and administration officials have said repeatedly that they have laid the groundwork for an infrastructure decade that will help Americans for many years to come, but their infrastructure messaging on the spending projects does not appear to have connected with voters thus far.

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