Ben's Priority Legislation - 114th Congress
Throughout my career, I have been proud to be a national leader on health care, the environment, fiscal issues and retirement security, as well as civil rights. I continue to fight for legislation to provide clean and safe water for our communities; improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay; maintaining and strengthening quality, affordable health care for all Americans; enriching the sustainability and livability of our Maryland communities; and working to address the unique needs of Marylanders in all corners of our state.
***This list will be updated as more legislation is introduced in the 114th Congress***
Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives Act
The Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives Act extends and improves important energy efficiency incentives in the tax code, encouraging cleaner energy, energy security, and job creation. In particular, the bill (1) extends and modifies the section 179D commercial buildings deduction and creates a new deduction for energy efficiency retrofits of commercial and multifamily buildings; (2) provides homeowners with a tax credit of up to $5,000 for making an investment in energy efficiency; and (3) provides targeted tax credits related to industrial energy and water efficiency.
End Racial Profiling Act (Lead Sponsor)
This bill is designed to enforce the constitutional right to equal protection of the laws by eliminating racial profiling through changing the policies and procedures underlying the practice.
Equal Rights Amendment (Lead Sponsor)
In March 2012, I introduced a joint resolution to remove the deadline for the states’ ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). When Congress passed the ERA in 1972, it provided that the measure be ratified by three-fourths of the states (38) within seven years. This deadline was later extended to 10 years by a joint resolution enacted by Congress, but ultimately only 35 out of 38 states had ratified the ERA when the deadline expired in 1982.
Democracy Restoration Act
This legislation would reduce recidivism rates by restoring voting rights to individuals after they have served their time and have been released from incarceration. Studies indicate that former prisoners who have voting rights restored are less likely to reoffend, and that disenfranchisement hinders their rehabilitation and reintegration into their community.
Global Development Lab Act
This bipartisan and bicameral bill that would authorize USAID’s Global Development Lab and allow this new arm within USAID to harness innovation, science and technology, and public-private partnerships to help drive down the cost of development interventions and accelerate progress of U.S. development and foreign policy goals. The Lab utilizes a pay-for-success model, which uses science, technology, and innovation-driven competitions to expand the number and diversity of solutions to development challenges. When government partners with businesses, NGOs, entrepreneurs and innovators to tackle the world’s greatest development challenges, the possibilities are endless.
Global Magnitsky Human Rights and Accountability Act
This legislation would impose sanctions on foreign persons responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights or acts of significant corruption. This bipartisan bill would give the United States the tools to deter future abuses throughout the world, while also protecting our strategic financial infrastructure from those who would use it to launder or shelter ill-gotten gains. Standing up for the rule of law and establishing clear consequences for abuses of fundamental human rights serves our nation’s interests and contributes to global security. Gross violators of human rights would be put on notice that they cannot escape the consequences of their actions even when their home country fails to act.
Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act
Amends title XVIII (Medicare) of the Social Security Act to repeal the caps on Medicare outpatient rehabilitation physical therapy services and speech-language pathology services.
National Blue Alert System (Lead Sponsor)
Similar to the Amber Alert system, this bill encourages, enhances, and integrates Blue Alert plans throughout the United States in order to disseminate information when a law enforcement officer is seriously injured or killed in the line of duty.
Preventive Health Savings Scoring
This legislation would amend the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 to require the Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), upon a request by the chairman or ranking minority member of specified congressional committees, to determine if a proposed measure would result in reductions in budget outlays in budgetary years through the use of preventive health and preventive health services.
The Progressive Consumption Tax Act creates a Progressive Consumption Tax, or “PCT,” that changes the way the federal government raises revenue. Rather than taxing income, the PCT generates reasonable revenue by taxing the purchase of goods and services. This revenue is used to exempt most households from any federal individual income tax liability and significantly lowers the corporate income tax rate. Low- and middle-income families would be protected from unfair consumption taxation through a PCT rebate, and important benefits would be retained in a much simpler income tax code.
I am a supporter of several bills that promote retirement security for U.S. families. For example, S. 742, the Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act, amends the tax code to encourage the adoption of S-ESOP plans that provide workers with solid retirement savings. S. 952, the Church Plan Clarification Act, corrects several unintended consequences that arise when our general pension and tax laws interact with the unique structure of church pension plans. S. 2855, the Retirement Security Preservation Act, amends the nondiscrimination rules that apply to qualified retirement plans to protect older, longer-service participants whose defined benefit plans have been closed or frozen.
This legislation increases Medicare payments to qualifying Medicare providers by 10% for cancer screening tests recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Terminates the increase for a test when it reaches a 75% utilization rate for beneficiaries for whom such screening is recommended. Makes a Medicare provider eligible for such increased payment only if the provider: (1) participates in a nationally recognized quality improvement registry with respect to such test, and (2) demonstrates that the tests were provided in accordance with accepted outcomes-based quality measures.
Small BREW Act
The Small BREW Act revises the excise tax rate for small brewers and brew pubs to encourage growth in the craft brewing industry, whose members have long served as anchors for local communities. Breweries with an annual production of 6 million barrels or less would pay $3.50 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels and $16.00 per barrel on production between 60,001 and 2 million barrels. Any brewer that exceeds 2 million barrels (about 1 percent of the U.S. beer market) would begin paying the full $18 rate.
Syrian War Crimes Accountability Act is
This bill would require a report on U.S. actions to ensure accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity during the current conflict in Syria.
Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability Act (Lead Sponsor)
This legislation would allow local communities to improve their aging water infrastructure, helping to ensure clean, safe water for Americans, creating jobs and adapting to changing hydrological conditions.