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116th Congress Accomplishments

Contents:

Bill Signed into Law

  • The Volunteer Responder Incentive Protection Act (VRIPA) (H.R. 1231) exempts from taxation the benefits volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel receive from their communities for tax year 2020. It was included in the year end omnibus appropriations package signed into law on December 20, 2019.
  • The Protecting Access to Wheelchairs Act (H.R. 2293) helps people suffering from degenerative diseases, such as ALS, access individualized wheelchair accessories equipment they need to live their lives independently and with dignity by restoring appropriate payment rates to the businesses that supply CRT manual wheelchair accessories. It was included in the year end omnibus appropriations package signed into law on December 20, 2019.

Larson Bills That Passed the House

 

 Larson Bills Passed by the Ways and Means Committee

  • Know Your Social Security Act (H.R. 5306) clarifies the law for SSA to mail annual statements to all workers including a worker’s lifetime contributions and expected benefits which will help Americans plan for their retirement.  Introduced December 5, 2019, with Rep. Vern Buchanan.  Reported favorably out of the Ways and Means Committee in December 2019.
  • The Know Your Provider Act (HR 5807) introduced February 7, 2020, would improve the availability and accuracy of medical provider directory information made available by group health plans and health insurers. It was included in the Consumer Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills Act (H.R. 5826) reported favorably out of Ways and Means Committee on February 12, 2020.
  • The Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Transparency Act of 2019 (H.R. 3433) to ensure access to outpatient surgery centers by providing for representation from ambulatory surgical centers during the Department of Health and Human Services/Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ review of hospital outpatient Medicare reimbursement rates.  It was included in H.R. 3429 which passed Ways and Means June 26, 2019.

 

Social Security Subcommittee Actions

Highlights

  • Advancing Social Security’s long-term solvency and expansion: Introduced and held three subcommittee hearings on the Social Security 2100 Act. Two full committee hearings and one in House Budget Committee.
  • Hearings on protecting and expanding Social Security: The three subcommittee hearings and two full committee hearings were the first in a decade on protecting and expanding Social Security. Witnesses highlighted the importance of Social Security to seniors and why the program’s modest benefits need to be protected and expanded.
  • Pushing back against Trump administration efforts to deny people access to their earned Social Security benefits: The Trump administration has proposed several rules affecting Social Security Disability Insurance that could lead to what some call “bureaucratic disentitlement.” Most worryingly, the administration recently unveiled a poorly-designed rule on continuing disability reviews that could result in hundreds of thousands of disability beneficiaries losing their benefits. The subcommittee has pushed back strongly against these steps by the administration.
  • Holding SSA accountable on robocalls: Over the past year, scam robo-callers pretending to be from SSA have inundated people across the country. The subcommittee, through letters and oversight briefings, is working to ensure that the agency takes adequate steps to combat this robocall crisis.
  • Requiring SSA to mail annual statements: The full committee marked up and passed Subcommittee Chairman Larson’s Know Your Social Security Act, which clarifies SSA’s statutory requirement to mail annual Social Security account statements to all workers. These statements are critical to helping Americans plan for a secure retirement.
  • Helping victims of identity theft: Subcommittee Chairman Larson worked with Ranking Member Reed to introduce the Improving Social Security’s Service to Victims of Identity Theft Act, which would provide identity theft victims with a single point of contact within SSA when the misuse of their Social Security number results in the need to resolve one or more issue(s) with the agency.
  • Ensuring adequate funding for Social Security’s front-line customer service: The Subcommittee worked closely with the Appropriations committee to get a $100 million increase for SSA in the FY 2020 budget for staffing for customer service.

 

Details

Legislation introduced:

  • HR 860, the Social Security 2100 Act
  • HR 5306 (Larson/Buchanan), the Know Your Social Security Act
  • HR 5446 (Larson/Reed), the Improving Social Security’s Service to Victims of Identity Theft Act

Hearings: 3 subcommittee and 2 full committee

  • February 6, 2019: “Improving Retirement Security for America’s Workers” (full committee)
  • March 12, 2019: “Protecting and Improving Social Security: Enhancing Social Security to Strengthen the Middle Class”
  • March 13, 2019: “Protecting and Improving Social Security: Benefit Enhancements”
  • April 10, 2019: “Protecting and Improving Social Security: Comprehensive Legislative Proposals to Enhance Social Security”
  • July 25, 2019: Legislative hearing on the Social Security 2100 Act (full committee)

Markups:

  • June 26, 2019: Supported the markup of HR 3417, The Beneficiary Education Tools, Telehealth, and Extenders Reauthorization (BETTER) Act, which included a section on Social Security.
  • December 11, 2019: Marked up and passed out of committee HR 5306, the Know Your Social Security Act.

Other Accomplishments

Covid-19:   

  • Rep. Larson led the effort to ensure that Social Security recipients would not need to take any action in order to receive Covid-19 Rebate Payments. On March 30, 2020, the IRS announced that Social Security beneficiaries and SSI recipients would be required to file a simple tax return in order to access their return. On March 31, Rep. Larson and Workers and Family Subcommittee Chair Rep. Davis publicly called for the IRS to reconsider and find a solution. On April 1, 2020, he led a letter with Rep. Davis, Select Revenue Subcommittee Chair Rep. Thompson, Health Subcommittee Chair Rep. Doggett, Rep. Pascrell and Rep. Panetta, and over 30 members, urging the IRS to provide automatic payments to Social Security and SSI recipients. On April 2, 2020, the IRS announced that Social Security beneficiaries would no longer need to file a simple return.
  • On April 6, 2020, Representative Larson led a letter with Rep. Davis, Rep. Blumenauer, Rep. Schneider, and Rep. Higgins urging the IRS to extend the same policy to SSI recipients. On April 15, 2020 the IRS announced that SSI recipients would no longer need to file a simple return.
  • On April 16, 2020, Representative Larson was appointed by President Trump to join the Opening Up America Again Congressional Group. The bipartisan congressional task force was established to work with the Administration to address emergency resources to combat the COVID-19 crisis and address economic challenges.
  • Emergency Social Security Benefits Improvement Act (H.R. 6356):  This bill builds on the benefit expansions in the Social Security 2100 Act to provide economic relief to those who need it most during the Coronavirus pandemic: the elderly, minority populations, and people with disabilities. H.R. 6356 includes a retroactive increases Social Security benefits paid during 2020 (averaging a 2%) and an increase of the Special Minimum Benefit threshold to 125% of the poverty line. Introduced on March 18, 2020.
  • Increase Medical Supply Production Act (H.R. 6410): This bill compels the President to utilize the Defense Production Act of 1950 to produce ventilators, N-95 masks, and other PPE equipment that are in short supply or are overly sourced to other countries. Introduced on March 27, 2020.  

 

Crumbling Foundations:

  • In June of 2019, Rep. Larson received a commitment from Ways and Means Chairman Neal that the committee would work to restore impacted homeowners’ access to Casualty Loss Deductions, which was temporarily limited as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
  • Rep. Larson worked with Rep. Courtney and Senator Murphy and Senator Blumenthal to get clarification from the IRS as to if the Connecticut Foundation Solutions Indemnity Company is required to issue 1099’s and the taxability of support  received by homeowners.  

Defense:  

Fiscal Year 2020

  • In April, 2019, as a Chair of the Joint Strike Fighter Caucus, Rep. Larson led a funding request letter for 102 F-35s in the FY2020. The request received unprecedented bipartisan support with 103 bipartisan cosigners – the highest number to date.
  • As a result, Rep. Larson successfully secured funding for 98 fighters in the FY2020 Defense Appropriations.
  • Rep. Larson joined Rep. DeLauro in requesting funding for 73 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters.
  • Rep. Larson also joined Rep. Courtney in requesting additional funding towards the 3rd Virginia class submarine, which they were able to secure in the FY2020 Defense Appropriations.

Fiscal Year 2021

  • On March 17, 2020, as a Co-Chair of the Joint Strike Fighter Caucus, Rep. Larson led funding request for 98 F-35 fighters in FY21 (same as appropriated in FY2020). The request received record level of support with 126 cosigners.
  • Rep. Larson joined Rep. Joe Courtney to request support the Columbia class submarine as well as funding to sustain the two-a-year build rate of the Virginia class submarines and fully fund a second submarine.
  • Rep. Larson joined Rep. DeLauro to request additional funding for procurement of 9 CH-53K King Stallion helicopters.

 

 

Larson Solutions: Proposals for the 116th Congress

  • Social Security 2100 Act (H.R. 860)Introduced on January 30, 2019, this bill would not only cut taxes for Social Security recipients, it would also provide a benefit bump for current and future beneficiaries, and keep the system strong for generations to come - without slashing benefits or asking seniors to wait longer to collect the benefits they have paid for. Social Security is not an entitlement – it’s the insurance Americans have paid for to fund retirement, disability, and survivor benefits through a lifetime of work. The bill has the support of 209 cosponsors, endorsements by more than 30 groups, and has been the subject of six hearings in the House this Congress (three in Subcommittee, two in Ways and Means full committee, and one in the Budget Committee.)

 

  • America Wins Act (H.R. 4142) –  Rep. Larson introduced the America Wins Act which will invest over $1 trillion in the nation’s infrastructure over 10 years, creating millions of jobs, and providing a boost to the economy and the middle class that is sorely needed. The bill would lower emissions in the United State by 52% in 10 years and invest $1.2 in our nation’s infrastructure. It also takes into account the principles of the Green New Deal by giving special attention to frontline communities. Introduced August 2, 2019.

 

  • Medicare Buy-In & Health Care Stabilization Act (H.R. 1346): Introduced with Rep. Brian Higgins, Joe Courtney and Peter Welch on February 25, 2019, would build on the success and structure of the Medicare program to provide Americans (ages 50-64) with a new option for affordable, quality healthcare and allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices to achieve savings. A similar provision to negotiate Medicare drug prices was included in H.R. 3 which passed the House.

 

  • ACTION for National Service Act (H.R. 3464):ACTION is a college affordability bill that answers President Kennedy’s call for America’s young people to ask what they can do for their country. Over ten years, it would require the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to make 1,000,000 service positions available annually. Service, students would receive the equivalent of two years of college tuition for every one year of service. The bill has 188 cosponsors. Introduced June 25, 2019.

 

  • Emergency Social Security Benefits Improvement Act (H.R. 6356):  This bill builds on the benefit expansions in the Social Security 2100 Act to provide economic relief to those who need it most during the Coronavirus pandemic: the elderly, minority populations, and people with disabilities. H.R. 6356 includes a retroactive increases Social Security benefits paid during 2020 (averaging a 2%) and an increase of the Special Minimum Benefit threshold to 125% of the poverty line. Introduced on March 18, 2020.

 

  • Increase Medical Supply Production Act (H.R. 6410): This bill compels the President to utilize the Defense Production Act of 1950 to produce ventilators, N-95 masks, and other PPE equipment that are in short supply or are overly sourced to other countries. Introduced on March 27, 2020.  

 

House Passed Bills:

House Democrats have been hard at work since day one of the Majority, delivering on our For the People agenda. We’ve passed legislation to lower health care and prescription drug costs, raise wages, expand opportunity, tackle corruption in Washington, and protect Americans. Yet, this legislation to address the priorities of the American people continues to stall in the Senate due to GOP obstruction.

  • Ten Bills to Protect and Expand Access to Affordable Health Care and Lower Prescription Drug Costs
    • Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act
    • Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act (A Package of 7 Bills)
    • The Purple Book Continuity Act and the Orange Book Transparency Act
  • For the People Act
  • Equality Act
  • American Dream and Promise Act
  • Paycheck Fairness Act
  • Bipartisan Background Checks Act
  • Enhanced Background Checks Act
  • Climate Action Now Act
  • Raise the Wage Act
  • Bipartisan Budget Act
  • Appropriations Bills That Cover 96% of Government
  • Legislation to Secure Our Elections
    • Securing America’s Federal Elections Act
    • SHIELD Act
  • Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act
  • Butch Lewis Act
  • SECURE Act
  • Consumers First Act
  • FAIR Act
  • Save the Internet Act
  • Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act
  • Legislation to Block Oil and Gas Drilling in Coastal Communities and Vulnerable Ecosystems
    • Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act
    • Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act
    • Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act
  • Legislation to Respond to the Humanitarian Situation at the Border
    • Humanitarian Standards for Individuals in Customs and Border Protection Custody Act
    • Homeland Security Improvement Act
    • U.S. Border Patrol Medical Screening Standards Act
  • Legislation to Protect Our Public Lands
    • Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act
    • Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act
    • Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act
  • Protect Against Conflict by Turkey Act
  • Damon Paul Nelson and Matthew Young Pollard Intelligence Authorization Act
  • NATO Support Act
  • Venezuela TPS Act
  • Federal Civilian Workforce Pay Raise Fairness Act
  • Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act
  • SAFE Banking Act
  • Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act

Constituent Service:

In the 116th Congress, Rep. Larson has held nearly 60 public events, including 20 town halls.

Over his career, his staff has assisted with over 17,000 constituent cases. This Congress, they’ve assisted with nearly 1,300 constituent cases.

His office has helped get over $2 billion in grants awarded the First District, including $98 million this Congress.