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Legislative Update

Government Funding. Both chambers this week will be focused on consideration of a continuing resolution that Congressional leaders unveiled Sunday evening. The new CR provides that funding will continue through March 1 for the four appropriations measures that are currently funded through this Friday, Jan. 19 – Agriculture/FDA, Military Construction/VA, Energy and Water, and Transportation/HUD. Funding for the remaining eight appropriations bills would be extended from the current deadline of Feb. 2 until March 8.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has started the process for consideration of the CR in the Senate, and the Senate is expected to vote this evening to limit debate on the motion to proceed to an unrelated House bill that will be the vehicle for the CR. There are several additional steps that have to be taken before the Senate can take a vote on passage of the CR, and Schumer is hoping the process can be expedited in order for both chambers to approve the measure before Jan. 19.

The House is planning to wait on Senate passage before taking up the measure. It is likely that the House will bypass the Rules Committee and take up the Senate-passed CR under suspension of the rules. Final passage, therefore, will require sufficient bipartisan support to clear the two-thirds majority threshold.

Passage of this latest CR is needed to give appropriators more time to write the 12 appropriations bills for FY 2024, which started Oct. 1, 2023. Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and House Appropriations Chair Kay Granger (R-Tex.) are still negotiating on how to divvy up the top-line spending amounts that Leader Schumer and Speaker Mike Johnson agreed to on Jan. 7. The top-line number is $1.59 trillion ($886 billion for defense and $704 billion for non-defense), with an additional $69 billion for non-defense programs included as a side deal.

Tax Bill. This morning, the chairs of the House and Senate tax-writing committees unveiled a proposal to make changes that would affect both business and individual taxes. The agreement between House Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) and Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) would provide relief to businesses for three provisions that were changed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 – the deduction for domestic R&D expenses, the interest deduction, and bonus depreciation. The measure would also make the child tax credit more generous and provide incentives related to the low-income housing tax credit.

The cost of the bill, reportedly $78 billion over 10 years, would be offset by making various changes related to the Employee Retention Tax Credit, including accelerating to Jan. 31, 2024 from April 15, 2025 the deadline for filing backdated claims for the credit.

Even though the proposal has the support of Chairs Wyden and Smith, the committees’ two ranking members – Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Rep. Richie Neal (D-Mass.) – have not yet announced support for the measure. This evening Leader Schumer endorsed the tax package, but Speaker Johnson has yet to weigh in. It is uncertain how the bill will proceed through the legislative process, but the first step could be a markup on Friday in the Ways and Means Committee. Next week, the House is scheduled to be in recess.

Committee Action of Note

Wednesday, January 17

  • Senate Budget Committee Hearing: “The Great Tax Escape: Closing Corporate Loopholes that Reward Offshoring Jobs and Profits”
  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions Hearing: International Financing of Nuclear Energy
  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Hearing: “The State of Transportation”
  • House Oversight and Accountability Committee Hearing: “The Biden Administration’s Regulatory and Policymaking Efforts to Undermine U.S. Immigration Law”
  • House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing: “Examining the Flow of U.S. Money into China’s Military Might”
  • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Hearing: “Strengthening American Communications Leadership with Open Radio Access Networks”
  • House Natural Resources Committee Markup of pending measures, including:
    • H.R. 2950, “Coastal Habitat Conservation Act of 2023”
    • H.R. 5482, “Energy Poverty Prevention and Accountability Act of 2023”
    • H.R. 5770, “Water Data Improvement Act”
    • H.R. 6474, to amend the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to expedite geothermal exploration and development in previously studied or developed areas
  • House Oversight and Accountability Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Government Innovation Hearing: “Toward an AI-Ready Workforce”

Thursday, January 18

  • Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Hearing: “Addressing Long COVID: Advancing Research and Improving Patient Care”
  • Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Hearing: “National Security Challenges: Outpacing China in Emerging Technology”
  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Markup of pending measures, including S. 1863, to require the Secretary of Energy to conduct a study and submit a report on the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of certain products produced in the U.S. and in certain foreign countries
  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Hearing: “Oversight and Examination of Railroad Grade Crossing Elimination and Safety”
  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Hearing: “Oversight of the SEC’s Proposed Climate Disclosure Rule: A Future of Legal Hurdles”
  • House Oversight and Accountability Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs Hearing: “The Next Generation: Empowering American Nuclear Energy”

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