Bill With Passport, Collections Provisions Heads to Obama

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The Senate passed the final version of highway funding legislation that contains two tax debt-related offsets, closing out months of Capitol Hill negotiation on how to pay for the critical infrastructure legislation.

Passed late Dec. 3 on a 83-16 vote, the bill moves to the president for its likely signature into law. The House passed the measure 359-65 in the House earlier in the day.

A conference committee approved Dec. 1 the final version of H.R. 22, the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act, which provides five years of funding for highway projects. Included among the measure's pay-fors is a provision mandating that the Internal Revenue Service hire private collection firms to recover tax debt no longer pursued by the agency.

The bill also allows the State Department to revoke the passports or deny the applications of passports of individuals who owe more than $50,000 in long-delinquent tax debt. Combined, the provisions offset little of the $300 billion-plus highway bill, increasing revenue by about $2.8 billion over a decade, according to a Joint Committee on Taxation report released Dec. 3.