Senate Democrats Spar over Hydrogen Credit Guidance. On Oct. 16, eight Democratic senators, led by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Climate Counselor Ethan Zindler, urging the agency to release guidance regarding the Clean Hydrogen Production Credit (§45V of the Inflation Reduction Act [IRA, Pub. L. 117-169]) that ensures the credit is strictly applied only to qualify for projects using new clean energy sources. The letter states that the credit “must not be applied to any projects that directly or indirectly increase power sector [greenhouse gas] emissions” as this would run the risk of a clean power market whose “gap in grid capacity is backfilled by fossil fuel generation,” potentially resulting in hydrogen production whose fossil fuel emissions are even higher than in conventional energy production.

Finance, Ways and Means Committees Release Taiwan Tax Bill Draft Text. On Oct. 19, the leadership of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee released the text for bipartisan legislation seeking to strengthen economic relations between Taiwan and the United States through more generous tax treatment for Taiwanese individuals and corporations subject to U.S. taxation with reciprocal benefits for U.S. taxpayers doing business in Taiwan. The release of the bill text follows the Finance Committee’s conceptual markup of the legislation on Sept. 14.

IRS Unveils Additional Details on Direct E-File Pilot. On Oct. 17, the IRS announced additional key details about its planned Direct E-File Pilot program for the 2024 tax-filing season. The program would allow select taxpayers the option to file federal tax returns for free through government-run and operated tax preparation software. The IRS confirmed in its release that only taxpayers with “relatively simple returns,” determined by the taxpayer’s income types and the tax and deductions for which they are eligible, would be able to participate in the pilot program.

New York Republicans Rub SALT in Jordan’s Wounds. Five Republicans from the state of New York were among the Republicans who voted against Rep. Jordan’s speakership on the House floor and then on the secret ballot that removed him as speaker-designate altogether. These Republicans—Reps. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), Nick LaLota (R-NY), Mike Lawler (R-NY), Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY) and Marc Molinaro (R-NY)—all represent parts of Long Island or the exurban areas of New York City, and have cited dissatisfaction with Rep. Jordan’s stance on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction cap as a partial reason to oppose his candidacy. These members believed that Rep. Jordan would not be able to deliver for them on the issue of the SALT relief. A statement released by Rep. D’Esposito after the first floor vote read that he “want[s] a speaker who understands Long Island’s unique needs,” including SALT relief.

CBO Finds that IRA-IRS Fund Rescission Would Drastically Increase Deficit. In response to an inquiry from Senate Budget Committee Chair Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provided additional information on the estimated budget effects of rescinding $25.035 billion (pursuant to §4003 of Senate Amendment 1226) in tax enforcement funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provided by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). The CBO estimate showed that, although outlays (spending) would decrease by $25.035 billion over 10 years, revenues would also decrease by $48.797 billion. This would result in increased deficits over the 2024–2033 period by $23.762 billion.

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