Congress Facing a Must Pass List

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The House and Senate returned to Washington this week facing a number of looming “must pass” items. The first is funding the government past December 3, when the current Continuing Resolution expires. On Thursday, the Senate approved a stopgap spending bill that will keep the government funded until Feb. 18. The vote was strong 69 to 28, with 19 Republicans joining with the Democrats to prevent a shutdown. The Senate also rejected a Republican amendment that would have barred private-sector vaccine mandates.

ABMA Objects to BBB Tax Increases

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Earlier this week, the ABMA sent a letter to the Senate outlining our concerns with tax provisions in the Build Back
Better (BBB) legislation recently passed by the House. If enacted, the tax rate for small and medium sized businesses could jump to over 41 percent—a sizable increase for LBM businesses.

Senate Tackles Build Back Better

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As we detailed on last Friday’s Advocate, the House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act and it proceeds now to the Senate. The House and Senate are in recess this week but will return to Washington next week. There are a couple of other items in the comprehensive bill to which we wanted to draw your attention. One of these is included in the green energy tax portion of the bill that was crafted by the House Ways and Means Committee and folded into the amended product that is on its way to the Senate.

Build Back Better and ETS Legal Battles

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The House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act this morning by a vote of 220-213. The bill now proceeds to the Senate for consideration. We remain concerned with revenue raisers in the package and have communicated opposition to them with Members of Congress. Our focus has been on provisions raising tax rates on small and medium sized business that are organized as S-Corporations or other pass through structures.

ABMA Legislative Committee Update

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On November 18th, the ABMA Legislative Committee met virtually to receive a congressional update from our Government Affairs Associate Pat Rita, discuss the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on COVID-19 vaccines and testing and the current legal status of the ETS, look ahead to potential 2022 priorities, and highlighted our upcoming virtual event with Congressman Kurt Schrader from Oregon.

The House Approves the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

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Last Friday, the House of Representatives approved a comprehensive infrastructure package titled the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R. 3684) that passed the U.S. Senate on a bipartisan vote in August. The measure, which passed the House on a vote of 228-206 (13 Republicans voted for the bill, 6 Democrats voted against) includes over a half trillion dollars in spending on roads, ports, bridges, and rail, among other priorities.

Elusive Congressional Deals & the Vaccine Mandate

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Negotiations to move a Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure spending package and larger budget reconciliation bill through the House are in overdrive, but a deal as of Friday morning has not been reached. Speaker Pelosi had hoped to have floor votes on Thursday and her whip team was working aggressively to secure commitments, but the 218 votes are not currently there for these two proposals moving together.

Infrastructure, Taxes & Vaccine Mandate Imminent

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On Thursday morning, President Biden released a compromise framework for his Build Back Better plan. Although the $1.75 trillion framework does not delve into all the details and a considerable number of significant items still need to be worked out, the framework has been agreed to by holdout Democrat moderates in the Senate.

Business Community Opposes Grantor Trust/Minority Valuation Changes

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The ABMA joined with more than 90 trade associations representing millions of individually- and family-owned businesses to sound the alarm on the proposed changes to grantor trust and valuation rules in the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376) and called on lawmakers to reject these provisions.

Vaccine Mandates & Workforce Development

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On October the 12th, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sent its proposed COVID vaccination and testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for interagency review. Recall that this proposal will require employers with 100 or more employees to ensure employees are COVID vaccinated or are tested weekly.

ABMA Legislative Committee Update

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On October 21st, the ABMA Legislative Committee met virtually to receive a congressional briefing from our Government Affairs Associate Pat Rita, discuss the pending OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on COVID-19 vaccines and testing, update the status of our Federal PAC formation and look forward to our virtual Congressional meeting in November.

Softwood Lumber Subsidies and Forest Products Legislation

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In the October 8 edition of the Federal Register, a notice was published by the Department of Commerce seeking comment on existing softwood lumber subsidies in competing countries. Under the Softwood Lumber Act of 2008, the Secretary of Commerce is required to submit a report to Congress every six months on any subsidy–including stumpage subsidies–provided by countries exporting softwood lumber or softwood lumber products to the United States. Commerce submitted its last subsidy report to Congress on June 30, 2021.

Debt Ceiling & Infrastructure Defining Negotiations

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The House missed its self imposed deadline last week to vote on a $1 trillion, Senate-passed, bipartisan infrastructure bill known as the BIF—or Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework. Although nearly 20 House Republicans signaled that they would vote for the measure, the House Democrat Progressive Caucus stood firm in its opposition to moving forward on BIF without a firm commitment to vote on the much larger social spending provisions being pursued through the budget reconciliation process.

PRO Act Update and Congressional Catchup

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This week, ABMA sent a letter to all Members of Congress urging inclusion of meaningful workforce development investments in any infrastructure and/or budget reconciliation package that is ultimately enacted. In their efforts to trim down the overall cost of the budget reconciliation bill, Senate leaders are considering slashing funding for workforce development by almost 90 percent. 

ABMA Prioritizes Workforce Development

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On Wednesday, September 29th, the ABMA sent a letter to Congress asking legislators to invest in recruiting, developing, training, and incentivizing potential employees to fill skilled labor positions.

Infrastructure and Reconciliation Debates Continue

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On Tuesday, the full House voted 220-211 to pass H.R. 5305, a measure that would keep the government funded at current levels until December 3. The current fiscal year runs out September 30. The bill also waives the federal debt cap limit until December 2022 and includes almost $30 billion in disaster aid for states that have suffered from hurricane damage and other natural disasters. As part of this disaster aid, $5 billion is allotted for housing and economic development projects and $2.6 billion for highway repairs.

ABMA Legislative Committee Update

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On September 23rd, the ABMA Legislative Committee met virtually to receive a congressional update from our Government Affairs Associate Pat Rita, outline our strategies for our current priority issues, and discuss our preliminary plans for our 2022 Legislative Conference.

Tax Update, Vaccine Mandate, and More

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The House Ways & Means Committee wrapped up a few marathon sessions this week marking up its piece of the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package. As anticipated, a number of tax increase proposals totaling $2.2 trillion on businesses and individuals advanced.

Workforce Development

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On September 9th, the House Education and Labor Committee began marking up its piece of the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package to deliver on the Administration’s Build Back Better plan.

Infrastructure Package

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In mid-August, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive infrastructure package titled the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The bipartisan measure includes over a half trillion dollars in spending on roads, ports, bridges, and rail, among other priorities.

ABMA Legislative Committee Update

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On August 26, 2021, the ABMA Federal Legislative Committee held its inaugural meeting to approve the Committee Charter, establish preliminary priority issues, and receive a Capitol Hill update from our Government Affairs Associate Pat Rita.

Infrastructure Summary

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Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive infrastructure package titled the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act…