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Legislative News

  • 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)


    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.


    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).

  • Thu, January 28, 2021 1:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A business coalition lead by the U.S. Chamber, including CIRT among other design/construction organizations, sent a letter to members of Congress calling for timely, targeted, and temporary federal liability relief related to COVID-19.  The purpose was to have a broad cross-section of organizations join together to demonstrate how vital this critical matter is to U.S. businesses of all sizes and industry segments. The coalition urged Congress to take bipartisan action on this issue as part of any future relief measures [See, Coalition Letter for details]

  • Wed, November 18, 2020 3:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    CIRT joined business groups calling upon the Trump administration to stop a new effort to scrutinize large businesses that took emergency payroll loans during the pandemic, warning that officials were asking inappropriate questions that appeared biased against borrowers. At issue are "loan necessity" questionnaires that the Small Business Administration has proposed that gathers information from businesses that took Paycheck Protection Program loans worth $2 million or more. The nine-page forms, which the SBA issued with little public explanation, sought details from borrowers beyond what they provided in initial loan applications, including information on quarterly revenue, capital expenditures, dividend payments and whether any employees earned more than $250,000.

    Eighty groups including CIRT, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Bankers Association, and the National Association of Manufacturers warned the SBA and the Treasury Department that the questionnaires introduced a "confusing and burdensome" process for borrowers and PPP lenders. A similar letter was sent to the US House and Senate leadership pointing out the problems associated with the proposed procedures. The broad pushback from the business community is the latest flashpoint over the “Paycheck Protection Program,” which issued $525 billion of emergency loans to more than 5 million businesses as a way to keep workers connected to their jobs. The loans can be forgiven if businesses agree to maintain payroll. In the new questionnaires, the SBA said it was examining the loans “to maximize program integrity and protect taxpayer resources" and to review the "good-faith certification that economic uncertainty made your loan request necessary to support your ongoing operations.” But business groups — representing lenders that issued the loans and the borrowers that received them — say the SBA is using criteria beyond what was required by Congress to evaluate whether larger companies needed the money; pointing out that: submission of revenue and liquidity data "appears to signal a bias against PPP borrowers that managed to survive or remain profitable despite the Covid-19 pandemic." They said the legislation that established the program in March did not include liquidity or revenue tests and so "those considerations are inapplicable and inappropriate as it relates to the forgiveness of any currently outstanding PPP loan." Instead, the business associations said the agencies should ask borrowers for a "narrative statement" with documentation to support their decision to seek the loans.

    [For details, see the coalition letters to the Administration as well as U.S. House and Senate Leaders].

  • Fri, October 02, 2020 12:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It’s an understatement to say it has been an unusual year for legislation with the pandemic and presidential politics; however, Congress averted a government-wide shut down by passing a stopgap spending package and sending it on to the President for signature before the October 1st deadline.  Not only did the “Continuing Resolution” (CR) contain government funding through December 11th, more importantly for the design/construction industry it also included funds for the federal highway and transit programs for a full year. The one-year extension is crucial to states and communities that need funding certainty to plan and advance critical surface transportation projects. The new law will also provide $13.6 billion to support the Highway Trust Fund which underpins both highway and transit projects.  Notwithstanding this critical spending commitment, CIRT continues urge longer-term steps to address policy and funding needs over a multi-year timeframe for highways and transit projects.  

  • Tue, September 29, 2020 6:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    CIRT was invited to participate and play a role in a recent webinar hosted by the law firm of Crowell & Moring that addressed the matter of infrastructure needs and various legislative vehicles that may be crafted over the next year to address this matter.  To hear the webinar entitled: "Infrastructure Panel — U.S. Infrastructure in 2020 and Beyond: As Congress turns its sights to rebuilding U.S. infrastructure, what should stakeholders expect?” in its entirety use this link / email:

    WEBCAST LINK:  https://event.on24.com/wcc/r/2590787/B5515C75D7FDEBA31D906471868AA981?mode=login&email=jane@cirt.org

    EMAIL: jane@cirt.org

    To download the slides / charts, click HERE.

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