Washington, D.C. — Congressman Jim Himes released the following statement on the House passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, commonly known as USMCA, and the Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act, which would raise the cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions that were instituted in the 2017 Tax bill, at the end of a week which also saw passage of a sweeping government-funding deal:

“This was an historic week as Democrats in the House of Representatives advanced several measures that directly serve the interests of the American people.

“The funding packages we passed prevent a government shutdown and represent growth in priority areas for American families, especially here in Connecticut. The bill boosts our state economy by providing more than $12 billion of funding for maritime construction and investment, addressing the crumbling foundations crisis, and supporting workforce training and development programs in Connecticut.  It also secures $25 million for gun violence research at the CDC and NIH for the first time in more than 20 years, provides $21 million in funding to help clean up the Long Island Sound, invests in education, repeals the ‘Cadillac Tax’ on health insurance plans, and provides money for election security.

“Today, the House passed the USMCA, which I support because it’s good for the American (and Mexican and Canadian) people. It has brought together the most unlikely of allies in support of a truly modern and progressive trade agreement. The agreement, dramatically improved by Democrats, has strong protections for labor and the environment and will benefit the Connecticut economy. In Connecticut, 1,046 manufacturing firms, representing 27 percent of manufacturing firms, export to Canada and Mexico. This number includes 861 small- and medium-sized manufacturing firms and represents 8,821 manufacturing jobs which depend on North American trade.

“We also voted to raise the limit on SALT deductions, which were capped at $10,000 by the 2017 tax bill, disproportionately injuring Connecticut families. In 2015, 483,790 Connecticut tax filers claimed more than $10,000 in these SALT deductions and are adversely affected by this provision. The average SALT deduction in Fairfield County before the change was $33,400, meaning families who itemize deductions are on average being taxed twice on an additional $23,400 of income each year.  Connecticut officials estimated that the change in SALT deductions raised tax liabilities for Connecticut taxpayers by $2.8 billion. By eliminating the cap entirely for two years, we will put more money back into the hands of Connecticut workers, who already pay more than their fair share of federal taxes.  This bill will require action in the Senate before it heads to the President’s desk and becomes law.

“This has been a very productive year for the House of Representatives, which has passed more than 400 bills are now languishing on Senate Majority Mitch McConnell’s desk, and any partisan talking points that claim otherwise are detached from reality. In the new year, I will continue finding any way to move forward with a positive agenda for the benefit of Connecticut families and the American people. I urge the Senate and the President to do the same.”