NAPO Victory! Zadroga Act, “Cadillac” Tax Delay Included in FY 2016 Omnibus Spending and Tax BillsDecember 16, 2015
In a huge victory for NAPO and the 9/11 first responder community, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act has been included in the fiscal 2016 omnibus appropriations measure, which was released late last night. After all of our efforts throughout the year, including many meetings with members of Congress, countless lobby days and press conferences, we have secured a 75-year reauthorization of the World Trade Center Health Program and a 5-year, fully-funded reauthorization of the Victims Compensation Fund (VCF). Further, Congress added a provision to the VCF to ensure that all those who have only received 10 percent of their award as of the enactment of this bill will be made whole and receive the full amount of their award.
NAPO thanks all of our members who helped us lobby this bill and we give special thanks to the bill’s sponsors in the House and Senate who were true champions for this bill, including Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY), and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Charles Schumer (D-NY).
Another victory for NAPO is that the “tax extenders” legislation, which will renew or make permanent a host of tax breaks for businesses and individuals, includes a 2-year delay of the excise tax, or “Cadillac” tax, on employer-sponsored health plans. While it is not a full repeal of the tax, the delay will help health plans and employers be better prepared for the implementation of the tax and it will allow more time for contract negotiations. The inclusion of the delay of the excise tax in the omnibus bill signals that there is growing support for fully repealing the measure and our ability to do so may be significantly higher at the end of the two-year delay. NAPO will continue to work with Congress and the Administration over the next two years to fully repeal the tax.
Finally, NAPO has protected the funding levels of our priority Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) state and local law enforcement programs. The omnibus appropriations bill allocates $187 million for the COPS Hiring program, $476 million for the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (Byrne-JAG) program, $22 million for the Bulletproof Vest Partnership (BVP) program and $10 million for the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act. For the DHS grants, the legislation appropriates $476 million for the State Homeland Security Grant Program and $600 million for the Urban Area Security Initiative.
NAPO’s work is not done yet as Congress still needs to vote on and pass the omnibus spending measure and the tax extenders bill. The House is expected to vote on them by Friday, leaving the Senate to vote on the bills over the weekend. Congress must pass these bills by December 22nd. We will keep you updated on the progress of these bills as the House and Senate deliberates.
If you have any questions, please contact Andy Edmiston at firstname.lastname@example.org.