Capitol Edge: Billions in the budget, Flint, and vaping

WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – Billions of dollars in the balance, Flint’s water crisis, and a little vaping are all part of this week’s Capitol Edge.

“The budget that we’re releasing today – reflects my priorities,” President Barack Obama said on Tuesday after releasing his budget proposal for 2017. “It drives down the deficit. It includes smart savings on healthcare.”

Republicans tore into several ideas.

“The way we hold the Obama administration accountable is by controlling the budget,” said Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Online Sales Tax Ban.

There could soon be no more local sales tax included in your next purchase on Amazon. Congress voted to ban taxes on internet access permanently.

Several states have been allowed to go around the ban, but under this proposal – all would have to stop by 2020.
“They have been grandfathered into this proposal essentially for another four and a half years,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said.

Vaping.

California Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter is a longtime supporter of E-cigarettes so he used one for a hearing on… E-cigarettes. He wanted to highlight how he thinks they do not pose a serious health risk.

Nothing really important has come out of this yet, but it makes for good video.

Water Crisis.

Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder is now offering to testify before Congress about the Flint water crisis. Earlier this week he declined to appear before the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

The House of Representatives voted to force the E.P.A. to notify the public about unsafe drinking water within 48 hours of contamination if state and local governments do not alert the public within 24 hours.

Zika Virus.

Congress held a couple of hearings on the Zika virus. Lawmakers wanted to know more about the virus and what needs to happen for America to be ready to deal with this quickly spreading disease.

Next week both the Senate and House will not be working on Capitol Hill. You can expect to hear a lot less about Congress, and a lot more about the primary in South Carolina.+

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