From Electric Bikes to ‘Tree Equity,’ Biden’s Social Policy Bill Funds Niche Items

“The collapse of the local press has had dire consequences for our ability to govern,” said Mr. Blumenauer, a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee on Tax Writing, referring to anti-Muslim and other offensive remarks made by a Republican trucker. The driver who defeated the president of the New Jersey Senate this month – but was only revealed by the media after his election.

“There was no opportunity for the local media to provide even basic information on the candidates,” Mr. Blumenauer said. “The man would not have been elected if he had been subject to any scrutiny at all.”

Some of the measures included in the bill have been weak for years. In 2007, Senator Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, drafted a bill that would allow attorneys working on an emergency basis—they would only be paid if they won—to take a tax write-off for expenses from a case when incurred. At the moment, such expenses can only be claimed after a ruling in the case.

Since writing the action, Mr. Specter has switched parties, defeated and then died, but his work has found his moment. The change would bring significant savings to trial attorneys — $2.5 billion, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, a nonpartisan arbiter in Congress on tax policy.

“Lawyers who work on a contingency fee cannot deduct their expenses until the case is resolved, which can take years after the expenses are incurred,” said Carly Moore Sfrigola, a spokeswoman for the American Justice League, the trial attorney’s lobby. “Contingency fee arrangements are the only way ordinary people can afford to seek justice.”

Many of the actions have bipartisan origins. An attempt to include independent music producers in the current tax-exempt for film, television, and live theatrical performances found a hero in Conservative Senator from Tennessee, Marsha Blackburn, at the behest of Nashville.

Rep. Linda T. Sanchez, D-Calif., initially drafted the Helping Independent Tracks Act, or HITS, at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, but was able to bring in Ms. Blackburn, Rep. Ron Estes, R-K. and Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California.

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