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ADA backs tax, nutrition measures in lame duck Congress

Washington—The Association joined post-election coalitions urging passage of tax and nutrition legislation during Congress’ lame duck session.

  • A coalition of associations and companies will urge Congress “to extend critical tax provisions that, while temporary in nature, are critical to the economy. It is of the utmost importance to all of us, and to the health of the U.S. economy, that this extension be enacted before the end of the year and apply seamlessly through 2011.”
  • A even broader coalition of local, state and national health, education, food, religious and other groups, “as organizations working to reduce hunger and improve nutrition among children,” urged passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, S. 3307, “immediately when Congress returns in November.”

Appropriations and taxes top Congress’ lame duck agenda, with no assurance of outcome in either regard.

Chief among the tax issues is an alternative minimum tax (AMT) “patch” for 2010 to prevent higher taxes for an estimated 21 million taxpayers. Congress also must deal with the expiration of dozens of other business and individual tax provisions and the larger issue of expiring tax cuts. It’s a mean tax dish for a lame duck Congress to hash out.

The bipartisan leadership of House and Senate tax-writing committees sought to assure the IRS, which is finalizing tax forms, that AMT relief was on the way “to assure tax certainty for 21 million Americans. We plan to do everything possible to enact AMT relief legislation in a form mutually agreeable to the Congress and the President.”

On the nutrition front, ADA policy (Resolution 37H-2009) calls on the Association to “encourage continued support for federal nutrition and food assistance programs that provide nutrition services and education for infants, children, pregnant and parenting women, the elderly, and other vulnerable groups,” and to “encourage the appropriate government agencies to restrict access to non-nutritious foodstuffs that contribute to the advancement of tooth decay under federal nutrition and food assistance programs.”

An ADA-supported coalition letter urges the House Education and Labor Committee “to pursue a new way forward” that would “secure now the important improvements” provided in pending reauthorization legislation “while addressing concerns” about access to child nutrition programs. The Association is working with a public health coalition to support reauthorization of nutrition and food assistance programs to include such oral health provisions as those intended to prevent early childhood tooth decay and curb youth soft drink consumption.