ABMA continues to make the rounds on Capitol Hill talking with Senate offices on prospects for a modified Build Back Better package. National media are reporting on conversations between Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) about a deal that could pass the Senate. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm had this to say this week at a conference in Washington on renewable energy tax credits, which will be at the heart of any package that comes together– “I am feeling actually pretty bullish about it at this very moment. We’re not going to see the whole Build Back Better agenda; we’ve got to be realistic about that. But I do think that at least some version of those tax credits is still possible.”
In an effort to address the truck driver shortage, U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI) introduced bipartisan legislation that would establish a refundable income tax credit for qualified commercial truck drivers. The bill, titled the Strengthening Supply Chains Through Truck Driver Incentives Act (H.R. 7348), authorizes a tax incentive to attract and retain new drivers. Specifically, the measure would create a two-year refundable tax credit of up to $7,500 for truck drivers holding a valid Class A commercial driver’s license who drive at least 1,900 hours in the year.
Last week, the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies held its first hearing of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 funding cycle to examine the Department of Education’s FY 23 budget request. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona was the featured panelist. During the hearing, several Members of Congress emphasized the need for strong workforce investments. Two in particular—Representatives Andy Harris (R-MD) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) —each mentioned the stigma of pursuing trade skills education and training instead of attending a four-year institution.
On Thursday, April 28th, the ABMA Legislative Committee met virtually to receive a congressional briefing from our Government Affairs Associate Pat Rita, specifically detailing the revival of Build Back Better (BBB) and the Congressional Career and Technical Education (CTE) Taskforce. Afterwards, ABMA Legislative & Regulatory Affairs Coordinator Julianna Rauf updated the committee on ABMA Advocacy Week and upcoming events. Lastly, new business took place among ABMA Director of Legislative & Regulatory Affairs Kirk Ives and ABMA Legislative Committee Member Sara Belletete.
This week, ABMA participated in meetings with staff from the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committees to explore the concept of a new tax credit that would incentivize low carbon building material construction in residential and commercial applications. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR-04) has legislation pending known as the Trillion Trees Act that, among many other things, authorizes a “Low Carbon Building and Residence Credit.” The tax credit, which maxes out at 25 percent of a building’s purchase price, would be based on a carbon score to be developed by the Department of Energy.
On Thursday, April 21, ABMA met with Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy & Negotiations of the International Trade Administration (ITA) Ryan Majerus and his team to discuss the status of a new Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA). After a brief round of introductions, the meeting took off via a Q&A format. As a new SLA has been a priority for the lumber and building materials (LBM) industry since its expiration in 2015, ABMA members were eager to express its importance and ask questions regarding next steps.