Congress is expected to approve a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) today to extend government funding through December 23. The House passed a CR Thursday morning 224-201, and it is now in the Senate for consideration. The current CR under which the federal government is operating expires at midnight tonight. This short-term extension will buy time for House and Senate leaders to forge an agreement and pass an omnibus Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations package. ABMA was visiting with key Senate offices this week, and staff was optimistic that this omnibus would ultimately be enacted before Congress leaves town next week.
ABMA has been working with allied trade groups in advocating for extension of the 100 percent bonus depreciation provision that was authorized as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017. This benefit begins to phase down in 2023. Over the weekend, President Biden issued a statement indicating his desire for Congress to act on the Child Tax Credit, action on which would drive a deal on other tax provisions that Republicans support—including bonus depreciation. We are hearing reports, however, that there is a standoff between the two parties over outlines of an enhanced Child Tax Credit. If differences cannot be resolved, then action on a tax package as part of the omnibus will not occur this year.
Also in play as part of the omnibus negotiations is potential inclusion of JOBS Act provisions. This bill, Jumpstart Our Businesses By Supporting Students (JOBS) Act, would make high-quality, shorter-term education and training programs eligible for federal Pell Grants. This is bipartisan, bicameral legislation that enjoys broad support and has been a priority for workforce development advocates.
One other area that ABMA is watching as part of the year end budget deal is an effort to infuse the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with more funding. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) circulated a letter this week to House and Senate leaders to support $368 million for the NLRB. Democrat supporters of the measure are viewing this effort as their last chance to deliver for labor unions in the waning days of a Democrat-controlled Congress. The following is an excerpt from the letter:
Investing in America’s workforce matters. Congress must deliver for American workers and their families. The NLRB provides critical support for employees seeking union representation, higher wages and a better future. Adequate funding will ensure the agency is able to fully support workers’ right to organize under the National Labor Relations Act.
In an interview, Rep. Khanna had this to say: “This is it. We didn’t deliver on the $15 minimum wage. We didn’t deliver on the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. This is a concrete thing we can deliver on.” One of the Republican contenders to helm the House Education and Labor Committee in January (current Education and Labor Committee Ranking Member Virginia Foxx, R-NC) had this to say in response: “The NLRB is diverting resources from agency functions to pay NLRB employees to perform union business unrelated to enforcing the National Labor Relations Act. I could not, in good conscience, give a single cent more to such an agency or its union overlords.”
ABMA will be monitoring action on this effort closely in the coming days and will report on developments.