WASHINGTON (AP) — Retired coal miners and longtime opponents of Obama-era taxes on high-cost health plans are eyeing big wins as top congressional leaders and the Trump White House close in on a deal on a government-wide spending bill that’s also carrying lots of overdue Washington business. The bill would also increase the age nationwide for purchasing tobacco products from 18 to 21. The legislation would forestall a government shutdown this weekend and give President Donald Trump steady funding for his U.S.-Mexico border fence. The year-end package is anchored by a $1.4 trillion spending measure that caps a difficult, months-long battle over spending priorities. The roster of add-ons grew over the weekend to include permanent repeal of a tax on high-cost “Cadillac” health insurance benefits and finance health care and pension benefits for 92,000 retired union coal miners threatened by the insolvency of their pension fund. A tax on medical devices and health insurance plans would also be repealed permanently. The deficit tab for the package grew as well — about $500 billion alone over 10 years to repeal the three so-called “Obamacare” taxes alone — with a companion package to extend several business-friendly tax breaks still under negotiation. The… Read full this story
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