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Legislative News

  • Fri, June 11, 2021 1:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As predicted during the recently completed spring conference in Washington, D.C. the negotiations between the Biden White House and a small group of GOP Senators lead by Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) to find a compromise around the infrastructure initiative have come to an end.  In there place a more complicated and longer process has already begun with a group of 10 Senators (evenly divided between the two parties) busily at work trying to come-up with a strictly “Congressional” compromise that the Senators tentatively announced late Thursday, June 10th.  This new proposal will need further vetting and buy-in from both the White House and the expanded members in the Senate caucuses of both parties.  However, the bipartisan group of 10 and the White House still appear to have profound differences over what constitutes infrastructure and how much money should be allotted to it – making it a long road ahead.

    Moreover, as first pointed-out to our members during the spring conference sessions the path for any infrastructure bill must now pass through the hazardous and prolonged budget/appropriations process that will require a number of steps and firm support along the way to survive.

  • Tue, May 25, 2021 5:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Democrats and Republicans leaders on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee announced they reached a bipartisan agreement on the surface transportation reauthorization bill, which would provide $304 billion in funding for “traditional style” infrastructure like: highways, roads and bridges, etc.  The outline of the deal comes on the heels of the first signs of compromise when the President and top Republicans discussed the gaping differences between the original “American Jobs Plan” $2.25 trillion proposal and the GOP’s $568 billion counter (which resulted in the President responding with a massive but trimmed down $1.7 trillion offer).  The Senate EPW Committee will be marking-up the bipartisan compromise on May 26th.

    See Attached, for a summary on the President and GOP original proposals.

  • Mon, May 10, 2021 1:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In order to turn President Biden’s sought after capital gains tax increases into revenue raisers, the President has also proposed dramatic changes to estate tax law.  The Administration’s proposal would not just repeal of “stepped-up basis” in assets transferred at death, but would also tax those “built-up gains” at death as though the assets had been sold. These drastic changes in estate taxes could well make it impossible for privately-owned businesses and family farms/firms to be passed to heirs. [The estate tax changes come on the heels of President Biden’s recently announced proposal to raise the capital gains tax rate to 39.6/43.4 percent, which analysis have suggested would actually reduce rather than increase federal revenue]. 

    CIRT has joined a cross-section of organizations as part of the “Family Business Estate Tax Coalition” to strongly oppose repeal of “stepped-up basis” and the taxation of “built-up gains” at death.  [See details of the FBETC letter here].


  • Fri, April 23, 2021 12:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Republican Senators, lead my Senator Shelly Moore Caputo (R-WV), sent to President Biden a counter proposal with respect to his infrastructure plan.  The GOP spending priorities were laid out in a fact sheet titled “The Republican Roadmap” anticipates spending $568 billion on more narrowly defined infrastructure projects (e.g., roads, bridges, public transit systems, rail, water/wastewater, airports, and broadband) vs. the President’s expansive $2.25 trillion “American Jobs Plan.” The Hill reports the Republican proposal or framework, “would spend $299 billion on roads and bridges, $61 billion on public transit systems, $20 billion on rail, $35 billion on drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, $13 billion on safety programs, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, $17 billion on ports and inland waterways, and $44 billion on airports. It also proposes spending $65 billion to beef up and expand the nation’s broadband infrastructure to bring high-speed internet to more rural areas of the country.”  To pay for the scaled down, but still large expenditure, the Republican proposal looks to the traditional revenue sources, along with fees for electric vehicles, and reprogramming unused money recently allocated but not being spent in the recently passed $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan.”

    For details see: “Republican Roadmap, A Framework to Improve the Nation's Infrastructure"

  • Thu, April 01, 2021 4:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    President Biden, went to Pittsburgh to announce the outlines of his proposed $2.25 Trillion “Infrastructure Bill” and the accompanying tax hikes on corporations to help pay for it.  About one-third of the total spending, or some $621 billion, is intended for what might be called traditional “transportation infrastructure and resilience” (like roads, bridges, tunnels, etc.) with additional billions going to other more broadly defined infrastructure asset needs (such as charging stations, upstream manufacturing needs – presumably infrastructure related, etc.).  However, also hundreds of billions of dollars tucked into the proposal are at best tangential like: $400 billion toward “expanding access to quality, affordable home- or community-based care for aging relatives and people with disabilities.”  Still to come, is a release or proposal detailing a second leg or pillar of spending associated with more focused “Green New Deal” aspects.

    In sum, the $2 trillion "American Rescue Plan” proposal includes:

    • $621 billion to modernize transportation infrastructure,
    • $400 billion to help care for the aging and those with disabilities,
    • $300 billion to boost the manufacturing industry,
    • $213 billion on retrofitting and building affordable housing and,
    • $100 billion to expand broadband access.

    Additionally, there will be:

    • 20,000 miles of roadway modernized and 500,000 electric-vehicle charging stations added throughout the country.
    • Lead pipes and service lines will be replaced with new-age alternatives, and home care expansion for the elderly and ill.
    • An energy transition to low-carbon sources, in an effort to eliminate carbon emissions by 2035; and
    • May have embedded in it a $15 minimum wage provision, and possibly taxing authority.

    Critics are quick to point out that it reminds them of the Obama Administration’s stimulus bill that passed purporting to have “shovel ready jobs” that turned out to spend only about twenty (20) cents on the dollar for actual infrastructure needs. Moreover, the President has indicated he excepts/intends the plan to be paid for in part by increasing the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from the current 21 percent. [This would return the U.S. to having one of the highest corporate rates among the G-20 countries].

    [For details see, White House Fact Sheet summarizing infrastructure proposal at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/03/31/fact-sheet-the-american-jobs-plan/]


  • Mon, March 22, 2021 2:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With President Biden having just signed the $1.9 Trillion COVID-Emergency or Stimulus package, reports are surfacing of plans to rapidly move on to an even larger spending package.  Competing versions of a potential new bill, a so-called “Infrastructure-Green New Deal Bill” has the House Democrats working on a $1.486 trillion version vs. the Biden Administration’s more ambitious albeit less detailed $2.106 trillion as tracked by the Cornerstone Macro group.  The investment advisory firm complied a chart of known elements or figures that are circulating in DC as talking points or markers that could form the basis of an expected legislative vehicle to be submitted soon to Congressional committees of jurisdiction.

    Taken from various sources, the table below provides a potential scenario of the elements and spending levels of a possible “Infrastructure/Green” bill.  The analysis includes not just the usual highway and transit spending, but massive “green energy” outlays, federally funded universal nursery school (both in the House Dem and Biden wish list at about $130-138 Bn), along with other semi-related or even tangentially related items costed out mostly in the House Dems targets and (H.R.2).  Meanwhile, the Senate version (S.2302) seems very modest or tame in comparison, sticking more closely to what might be called “traditional” infrastructure items or expenditures that amount to only $291 Bn.  [See, Cornerstone Macro’s chart below].

    [NOTE: Other issues like a multi-year extension of the brand new cash-welfare program created in the stimulus, tax hikes, — and maybe even that $15 minimum wage could end-up in a final version as well]


  • Tue, March 09, 2021 6:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    [RESOURCE]

    With passage of the massive $1.9 Trillion “Emergency COVID-19 Package” now complete and sent to the President’s desk for his signature, many in DC will turn their sights on a possibly more partisan infrastructure bill that could find common ground to meet the needs of the nation.  Instructive to that conversation will be the President’s views and that of his newly installed Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, on the matter.  As part of the “United for Infrastructure” coalition and initiative, CIRT has access to the following interviews conducted last year on the subject of infrastructure.

    UNITED for INFRASTRUCTURE

    Revisiting President Joe Biden's and Pete Buttigieg's remarks from our February presidential candidate forum on infrastructure



  • Mon, March 01, 2021 9:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A cross section of business groups, including CIRT, have urged Congress not to pass legislation that essentially favors unionization of all federal contracting, while eliminating safeguards and procedures that protect individual workers.  The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace expressed its opposition to the “Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act” (H.R. 842) in a letter that points out, among other things, that the proposed legislation threatens fundamental rights and vital aspects of our economy such as: workers right to choose whether or not to be represented by a union through secret ballot elections, remove a union, and to act as independent contractors to businesses.

    (SEE, Draft Coalition Letter for details)

  • Sun, February 28, 2021 9:49 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Analysis of early versions and expectations of a new Biden Administration proposed tax system is setting off alarm bells with regard to the potential negative impacts it may have on the country’s economic recovery and potential growth.  The President’s views on taxing policy received very little coverage or scrutiny during the campaign and has remained largely in the background over the first month of this new administration, which has been dominated by his Executive Orders.  Any changes will have to survive likely filibusters in the Senate, meaning a 60-vote consent to move forward, but that is not entirely “bullet proof” given the Democrats willingness to end-run the traditional and widely accepted procedural system that has earned the upper chamber the distinction of being the “most deliberative body in the world.”

    Key Findings:

    (1) Several changes to the corporate income tax, including raising the rate from 21 percent to 28 percent and imposing a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations with $100+ million in book income. These proposals are being considered to raise revenue for new spending programs and would repeal changes to the corporate tax made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in late 2017.

    (2) An increase in the federal corporate tax rate to 28 percent would raise the U.S. federal-state combined tax rate to 32.34 percent, highest in the OECD and among Group of Seven (G7) countries, harming U.S. economic competitiveness and increasing the cost of investment in America. The Tax Foundation estimates that this would reduce long-run economic output by 0.8 percent, eliminate 159,000 jobs, and reduce wages by 0.7 percent. Workers across the income scale would bear much of the tax increase. For example, the bottom 20 percent of earners would on average see a 1.45 percent drop in after-tax income in the long run.

    (3) A minimum tax on the book income of large corporations would target gaps between financial and taxable income that generally exist because the rules for taxation differ from standards for reporting income to shareholders. Such a minimum tax would likely introduce additional complexity and distortions into the tax code and generate relatively little tax revenue, in part because firms have a degree of flexibility in reporting book income. The tax would potentially undermine current-law investment incentives as well as those proposed by President Biden, such as the “Made in America” tax credit.
    (SEE, Chart on OECD Tax Levels, and The Tax Foundation’s report for details:

    https://taxfoundation.org/biden-corporate-income-tax-rate/#Key )

  • Thu, February 25, 2021 9:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In an example of the dictum: “never let a crisis go to waste” the Democrat majority in the House of Representatives have passed and sent to the Senate an enormous $1.9 Trillion dollar package filled with longstanding left items that have little or nothing to do with direct aid or support for needs resulting from the pandemic or ensuing shutdowns. Much of the spending is not even going to be expended in 2021, notwithstanding the fact it is being passed under the moniker of “emergency relief.”  These details, including an increase in the minimum wage to $15/hour, has run into trouble in the evenly divided Senate.  (SEE, National Journal tables explaining key elements of the package).

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