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Legislative Update

Senate. The Senate returned this afternoon from the August recess and will vote this week on various nominations. Leader Schumer indicated this evening that he intends to hold a vote on a revised version of voting rights legislation, the For the People Act, as early as next week. The new version will reportedly have the support of all 50 Democrats but will fall short of the 60 votes needed to proceed. In observance of Yom Kippur, the Senate will not be in session on Thursday and Friday.

House. The House is not in session, so no floor action is scheduled. Instead, House committees are busy marking up various parts of the reconciliation package.

Reconciliation. While there are numerous aspects of the House’s reconciliation package, much of the business community’s attention has been on the tax provisions that will be voted on this week by the Ways and Means Committee. This morning details were released for the proposals that the committee will consider on Wednesday. This includes proposals that would increase the top corporate tax rate from 21% to 26.5% and overhaul the rules for taxing multinational corporations, including an increase in the minimum tax on U.S. companies’ foreign income (GILTI) from 10.5% to 16.6%. One of the incentives in the package would delay a provision in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act requiring that companies amortize their R&D expenses over five years, beginning next year. Instead, companies can continue to take a 100% deduction through 2025.

On the individual side, the Ways and Means proposal would increase the top tax rate to 39.6% and impose a 3% surtax on adjusted gross income over $5 million. The committee proposal also calls for an increase in the capital gains tax rate from 20% to 25%, effective Sept. 14, and a dramatic cut in the current estate tax exemptions that were included in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

On Tuesday, Ways and Means will consider another set of proposals, including provisions that would extend and expand clean energy tax credits, expand the electric vehicle tax credit, set up a new infrastructure bond program, and extend child tax credit benefits. Tuesday’s session will also include a vote on the committee’s proposed changes related to drug prices, which would, among other things, allow Medicare to negotiate prices and impose an excise tax if a drug manufacturer is not in compliance with the negotiation program. Drug pricing is also part of the reconciliation legislation that the House Energy and Commerce Committee is marking up today (and possibly tomorrow). If the provisions are approved, Democrats plan to use revenue from the drug price changes to help offset the cost of a proposal Ways and Means approved Sept. 10 that would add dental, vision, and hearing coverage to Medicare benefits.

While House Democrats could bring a reconciliation package to the floor as soon as the week of Sept. 27, consideration could be delayed if House and Senate leaders decide additional time is needed to iron out differences between the two chambers.

Budget Reconciliation Markup Schedule:

  • Monday, September 13:
    • Agriculture
    • Energy and Commerce
    • Financial Services
    • Judiciary
    • Veterans’ Affairs
  • Tuesday, September 14:
    • Homeland Security
    • Transportation and Infrastructure
    • Ways and Means
    • Energy and Commerce (if a second day is needed)
  • Wednesday, September 15:
    • Ways and Means

Additional Committee Action of Note:

  • Tuesday, September 14:
    • Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Oversight Hearing to examine the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
    • House Small Business Committee Hearing: National Small Business Week: Celebrating Our Main Street Champions.
    • House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight Hearing: The Disinformation Black Box: Researching Social Media Data.
  • Wednesday, September 15:
    • Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Subcommittee on Livestock, Marketing, and Agriculture Security hearing to examine milk pricing, focusing on areas for improvement and reform.
    • Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs business meeting to consider the nominations of Brian Nelson, to be Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes, and Elizabeth Rosenberg, to be Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing, both of the Department of the Treasury, and Julia Gordon, David Uejio, and Solomon Greene, each to be an Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

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