Here are some of the provisions in the 600-plus-page bill:
Medicare cost watchdog is repealed
The bill would kill an unpopular provision of the Affordable Care Act, its Independent Payment Advisory Board, which was devised to help keep Medicare spending growth from rising above a set level. No one has ever been appointed to the board, and its services have not yet been needed — Medicare spending has experienced unusually slow growth rates in recent years — but the board was long denounced by Republicans as a rationing board, and disliked by some Democrats for taking payment policy authority away from Congress.
Funding changes for public health programs
The spending plan would cut $1.35 billion in funding to an ACA program meant to improve public health and prevention funding for states and municipalities.
Another CHIP extension
It would extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program for an additional four years. Last month’s spending bill had already extended the program for six years, so now CHIP will be funded for an entire decade. Another popular program that delivers health care to low-income children and adults, the government-funded clinics known as Community Health Centers, will get a two-year funding extension.
Continued funding for abstinence education
The bill would extend funding to abstinence-only sex education programs.
A break for Berea College
The bill would exempt Berea College, a small private college in Kentucky that provides free tuition, from being subject to a new tax on large higher education endowments that was included in last year’s tax law. The bill adds language that makes the new excise tax on investment income applicable only to schools with “tuition-paying” students. Berea is in the home state of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Tax breaks for racetracks and horse owners continue
Owners of race horses and motor sports entertainment complexes would get an extension of special tax treatment. Horse owners are allowed to depreciate their horses over the course of three years. For racetracks, the depreciation is over the course of seven years.
Extension and expansion of energy tax credits
The Senate bill features a multitude of tax breaks for renewable energy sources that had been neglected in a 2015 deal to bolster wind and solar power. These “orphaned” technologies include geothermal, small wind farms and fuel cells. Much like existing credits for wind and solar power, these incentives would phase out starting in 2020. The bill also extends an existing production tax credit for nuclear power past 2020, which would benefit a pair of long-delayed reactors being built in Georgia that aren’t expected to come online before 2021. Southern Co. has said it may not be able to complete the reactors without the credit. The bill retroactively extends tax credits for biodiesel, advanced biofuels and fuel-cell vehicles through the end of 2017. Industry lobbyists had unsuccessfully fought to get many of these measures included in the tax overhaul bill passed by Congress in December.
A tax credit for mining safety
The bill extends a tax credit for 20 percent of an employer’s spending on mine rescue team training costs, up to $10,000. A separate provision allows the immediate deduction of a company’s investment in mine safety equipment.
A special rate for timber sales
The bill continues a special tax rate of 23.8 percent for 2017 for gains from timber sales, a break from the top rate of 35 percent that would have otherwise applied.