Dear Friends,

This week, the House of Representatives sent the Senate three bills that make important changes to our tax code by eliminating the death tax permanently, leveling the playing field for taxpayers, and making it easier for small businesses to offer health benefits. On Wednesday, I voted for H.R. 8, the Permanent Death Tax Repeal Act. The bill ensures that the death tax repeal, enacted in 2001 but set to return in 2011, is permanently deleted from the tax code. With bipartisan support, the legislation passed the House 264-163. Yesterday, the House approved H.R. 1528, the Taxpayer Protection and IRS Accountability Act. The bill assists taxpayers by reforming the penalty and interest sections of the Internal Revenue Code and providing new safeguards against unfair IRS collection procedures. The bill also improves the efficiency of tax administration and strengthens confidentiality of taxpayer information. To boost small businesses and reduce the ranks of the uninsured, the House also passed H.R. 660, the Small Business Health Fairness Act. The bill creates Association Health Plans, which allow small businesses to band together through associations and purchase quality health care for workers and their families at a lower cost. Finally, the House Appropriations Committee continued to make progress on the thirteen spending bills that must be passed each year to keep the government running. My colleagues and I reviewed bills funding homeland security and military construction and got those bills ready for debate on the House floor next week. I’m pleased to report that the latter contains more than $6 million for construction of a new passenger terminal and a joint service police station at the Fort Worth Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base. What’s on Tap for Next Week? Next week, I hope to be able to report that the House has approved legislation to modernize Medicare with a prescription drug benefit. Details are still being worked out, but I expect the plan to have a low deductible around $250, an affordable premium of about $35 per month, and comprehensive catastrophic protection.

With kind regards,

Kay Granger