Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Explore our coverage of government and politics.

Welch Votes Against $622 Billion Tax Bill, Unsure Of Vote On $1 Trillion Budget Bill

Lauren Victoria Burke
Rep. Peter Welch (shown here in March 2015,) said he voted against the tax bill in part, because of concern over the lack of funding for tax credits included in the bill.

Rep. Peter Welch has voted against a $622 billion tax bill approved Thursday by the House of Representatives.

The bill extends a variety of personal and business tax credits, but Welch says it will increase the deficit and delay consideration of a major tax reform package.

Before adjourning for the year, Congress is considering two huge pieces of legislation. The first is a ten-year, $622 billion tax bill and the second allocates more than $1 trillion in new spending.

The House on Thursday afternoon gave its approval to the tax bill. The spending bill will be up for consideration on Friday.

The Tax Bill

The tax legislation extends a number of temporary tax breaks including a credit for business research and benefits for certain types of capital investment. It also extends the enhanced childcare tax credit, a college tax credit and larger earned income tax credits for low-income families.

Rep. Peter Welch says he voted against the bill because many of the tax credits aren't paid for. He's also concerned that it deals with changes to the tax code in a piecemeal fashion.

“I believe deficits matter... We can have a tax code simpler and fairer, but if really all we do in Congress every time there's an opportunity [is] we just extend a deduction but we don't improve the tax code,” Welch explained, “Simply it make it fairer make it more balanced and sustainable then we miss an opportunity.”

The Spending Bill

Welch says he's not sure how he will vote on Friday's spending bill. He's concerned that several parts of the legislation will reduce funding for the Affordable Care Act.

"What the opponents of the Affordable Care Act have been trying to do and I think in this case are making some progress, is undercut the funding." - Rep. Peter Welch

“If you start chipping away at the building blocks of sustainable funding then you start hollowing out the program,” Welch said. “What the opponents of the Affordable Care Act have been trying to do and I think in this case are making some progress, is undercut the funding." 

Welch says the bill also contains a trade off on energy issues. On one hand, it extends federal tax credits for renewable energy projects, but on the other hand, it lifts a 40-year ban on the exportation of U.S. oil.

“I'm very concerned about exporting oil,” said Welch. “Particularly in the context of that having negative implications for what you pay at the pump when you buy gas it's going to cost us refinery jobs."

The U.S Senate is expected to consider both bills in the next few days and President Obama has indicated that he's willing to sign both pieces of legislation into law.

Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
Latest Stories