September 18, 2017 - Weekly Legislative Update
- Await the Trump-Ryan-McConnell tax reform plan on September 25 and frame new demands. Stick to leverage of blocking passage of a budget resolution, preventing use of reconciliation for fast-track passage of tax reform if the product isn't to their liking.
- Exploit divergence between the parties. Senate Democrats long ago stated their principal demands for tax reform: no tax cuts for the wealthy, no addition to the deficit, no budget reconciliation. Both parties could go into December struggling for a deal, and if they fail and GOP goes it alone, Freedom Caucus will again be in a position to block action until their demands are met.
- Democrats having a voice in tax reform is much to our advantage. Senator Schumer and Leader Pelosi are friends of WOTC, and lately, are on good terms with the President.
- Congressman Tom Reed, principal sponsor of H.R. 3652 to make WOTC permanent, is highly regarded on Ways and Means and is an early supporter and friend of the President.
- Our supporters in Congress are making a strong case for permanent WOTC as the bill is written: groups like military spouses and foster youth in transition are clamoring for eligibility, new challenges like disaster relief and rural poverty are claiming attention of policymakers.
- Cost of WOTC is included in the budget baseline-it will be counted as no cost to the government and no revenue offset required.
- Our lobbying campaign jumped off to a good start after Labor Day, building on the importance of WOTC for disaster relief.
Our main challenges:
- Authors of the GOP plan say they want a revenue-neutral bill, which limits funds needed to sustain tax credits that achieve important policy goals, like WOTC, unless some of the cost is allocated to a new revenue source or the deficit. To achieve goals for lower tax rates, tax extenders like WOTC may be scrutinized for expiration at the end of 2019.
- House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch have enormous power to decide which tax credits will be included for permanent extension and which allowed to expire. If not included in the "Chairman's mark," that is, the final text of tax reform that each committee will vote separately to approve, amend, or disapprove, it'll be an uphill fight to get WOTC into the House and Senate bills.
- If Republican Leaders Ryan and McConnell persist in their plan to pass a budget resolution allowing reconciliation, they'll likely lose Democratic support. However, Senate Democrats alone won't be able to keep a GOP bill from passing. This forces us to make every effort to win support of GOP leaders and members of Ways and Means and Finance so permanent WOTC will be included in their final product.
- Tax reform (after winning permanent WOTC) can pass by attaching it to the bill to fund the government in December, but the attempt is unlikely to succeed if Democrats aren't on board. This tactic depends importantly on Senator Schumer and the President continuing to work together.
The Tire Industry Honors, sponsored by Michelin, will be held in Las Vegas at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel on Monday, October 30th from 6:00pm - 8:00pm. Richard Smallwood's speech will focus on the advent of driverless cars - the greatest change in highway travel in over a century. He will address how this impact will increase vehicle miles traveled and how tire and auto part sizes are expected to be more uniform in size, that will significantly reduce inventory. By 2025, industry leaders are predicting 24 million driverless vehicles on the highway.