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The DC: Eliminating all tax deductions, and... 🥪 Should you be allowed to give the homeless home-cooked meals?

by Countable | 1.10.19

Welcome to Thursday, Alabamians to Wyomingites...

It's day 20 of the partial government shutdown, making this the second-longest shutdown in modern political history. On Saturday, it'll claim the #1 spot.

And unless funds for a border wall magically spring forth from the Capitol, it looks like Guinness will be getting a call this weekend. (For world records and for libations to deal with the closure.)

Some of the latest casualties of the shutdown:

  • California's Joshua Tree National Park will close today "to allow staff to address sanitation, safety, and resource protection issues in the park that have arisen during the lapse in appropriations." Issues include "incidents of new roads being created by motorists and the destruction of Joshua trees."
  • The Food and Drug Administration, which oversees 80 percent of the food supply, has suspended all routine inspections of domestic food-processing facilities. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said he's working on a plan to reinstate inspectors at "high-risk facilities, which handle foods such as soft cheese or seafood," as early as next week.

Do Democrats & President Trump need to cut a deal on border security funding?

On the Radar

  • Laws and regulations that affect long-term care facilities are being reviewed after a woman in a vegetative stage gave birth to a child on December 29th in a Phoenix assisted-living home. At least six states - Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Washington - have passed laws permitting families to install a camera in an assisted-living facility if the resident and resident’s roommate(s) agree to it. Some nursing homes, however, have language in their admission contracts that ban cameras or limit their use. Should you be allowed to place hidden cameras in nursing homes?

Under the Radar

  • Eliminating all tax deductions would raise $1.3 trillion over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). As Charles Lane points out in his latest column for The Washington Post, while this estimate relies on a somewhat unlikely assumption about how the tax code may be structured in the future, it nevertheless raises some interesting policy questions. In its 2017 tax bill, the Trump administration took some steps toward reducing certain deductions, particularly the State and Local Tax (SALT) and mortgage interest deductions. Lane notes that both of these deductions have contributed to suburban sprawl in the U.S. Read more about this, and how a tax increase could affect climate change, then tell your reps: Should we eliminate all tax deductions?

Your Gov at a Glance 👀

The White House: President Trump in D.C. & TX

  • At 1:05pm CST, the president will visit the U.S. Border Patrol Station in McAllen, TX.
  • At 2:30pm CST, the president will arrive at the Rio Grande, where he will receive a border security briefing..

The House of Representatives: In

  • Voting on a bill to provide $71.4 billion in FY2019 funding for transportation & housing programs.
  • Voting on a bill to provide $23.2 billion in FY 2019 funding for the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, rural development, and conservation programs.
  • Voting on a bill to increase sanctions on supporters of the Assad regime in Syria.
  • Voting on a bill to make permanent a program helping North African countries fight terrorism.
  • Voting on a bill to strengthen the State Department's Special Envoy to Combat Anti-Semitism.
  • Voting on a bill to encourage partnership between the U.S. and Mexico on economic initiatives.
  • Voting on a bill to require diplomatic staff to get directions about location-tracking on their consumer devices.

The Senate: In

  • Voting on a bill to increase sanctions on the Assad regime, strengthen alliances with Israel & Jordan, and combat the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement.

What You're Saying

Here are some of your thoughts on $23.6 Billion to Fund the Treasury, the Judiciary, Financial Regulators, and the Small Business Administration

(Follow Lionman's comment here.)

(Follow Emilie's comment here.)

But wait, there's more!

And, in the End…

Can you legally give that homeless person your bag lunch?

In October, police in St. Louis fined Rev. Ray Redlich for giving bologna sandwiches to homeless people without first obtaining the proper permits. He was cited for violating health code laws.

The Freedom Center of Missouri is suing St. Louis, alleging the policy violates the Constitutional right to freely practice religion since various faiths mandate helping those in need.

But City Counselor Julian Bush argues it’s about health, not religion.

"If these sandwiches had poisoned those who consumed them, there would have been an outcry that there was insufficient regulation; if not, there is a protest of over-regulation,” Bush said.

What do you think? Should it be legal for people to provide home-cooked food to the homeless?

Get it straight, national holiday registry: Is it "National Bittersweet Chocolate Day" or is it "Healthy Weight, Healthy Look Day"?

—Josh Herman

Talk to us via email at contact [at] countable.us. And don’t forget to keep in touch @Countable.

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