Weekly Legislative Update - April 29, 2019

Situation And Outlook For Permanent WOTC
When Congress returns today we'll be looking for Ways and Means hearings on tax extenders followed by markup of extensions including a vote on permanent WOTC. It may take much of the May-June time frame before a bill goes to the House floor.

Ways and Means crafting a bill that passes the House with permanent WOTC is our best outcome. This puts the blessing of the House on permanent WOTC and gives the Senate a vehicle for action. If a Senate bill never gets to the floor, at least one body will have passed permanent WOTC.

Permanent WOTC will, under budget scoring rules, increase the deficit. As many Democrats were elected promising not to increase the deficit, Chairman Neal and Speaker Pelosi are presently committed to writing a bill that's fully paid for.

Crafting a pay-for package the Democratic caucus can support won't be easy. Voting to raise taxes or cut spending, to fund a bill that some believe favors business, can cost legislators their seats.

To assure success passing extenders with their cost fully offset, the Speaker and whips will be consulting the caucus on what they'll support, and already the idea of add-ons like EITC expansion or more refundable Child Credit are emerging to make the extenders package more viable.

House leaders have the option of waiving the pay-go requirement, but that vote would be daring since the bill would be scored as increasing the deficit if it contains permanent extensions. The main argument in favor of waiving pay-go (i.e., a bill with no offsets) is that Republicans have long opposed offsets to pay for tax cuts, and the Senate would likely remove offsets.

WOTC supporters needn't take a stand on offsets unless it's something you can't support, for example, a tax increase. We'll have to be super-vigilant as Chairman Neal and the Speaker fashion their offsets, as they may choose a measure you must oppose.  

House Republicans may be against a bill with revenue offsets, so the onus will be on Democrats to pass the extenders. Shelving the bill because Democrats can't muster enough votes would damage the odds for permanent WOTC because the White House will have a deciding voice on any tax bill or government funding bill, and the White House is against increasing the public debt.  

Finance Committee Chairman Grassley is inclined to wait till smoke has cleared in the House before marking up an extenders bill. Nonetheless, we'll be urging him to markup sooner rather than later, ready for the floor if an opportunity emerges. The two GOP sponsors of S. 978 to make WOTC permanent, Senators Portman and Cassidy, combined with committee Democrats, form a bare majority in the Finance Committee. Winning support of GOP Senators Roberts (KS), Isakson (GA), Daines (MT), Burr (NC) and Scott (SC)-all supporters of veterans, people in poverty, or with disabilities-can yield a secure majority for permanent WOTC.

Having a bi-partisan majority of the Finance Committee reporting the extenders with permanent WOTC is critical. It can open the door to a bi-partisan majority of the whole Senate because Senator McConnell and Senator Grassley (for Republicans), and Senator Schumer and Senator Wyden (for Democrats), will have a Finance Committee bill they can ask their caucuses to support.

If no extenders bill passes by Fall, but Ways and Means and Finance have reported bills with permanent WOTC, there will still be an opportunity to enact either the House or Senate version, or a compromise, by attaching it to the bill to fund the government. Our campaign must be at its peak to get this done.

Budget talks on government funding have just begun but we'll likely repeat the same scenario as last year, except without a shutdown. The federal government may be under continuing resolution until January 17, the drop-dead date when sequester budget caps in current law will take effect and force negotiators to pass a full-year budget for FY 2020 sometime between December and February. It's at this point, when the last CR expires and an Omnibus is written for FY 2020, that extenders can be enacted by amending the Omnibus.

Congress and the White House haven't yet agreed to budget caps for government funding, but House leaders wisely inserted a "deemed" top-line budget cap into a resolution that passed the House before recess, enabling appropriators to go to work this week.

Advocacy to Hold More Roundtables on New Overtime Rule
The SBA Office of Advocacy is an independent office that serves as a voice for small business within the federal government, the watchdog for the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) and the source of small business statistics. Advocacy advances the views and concerns of small business before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, federal courts, and state policy makers.
President Donald J. Trump has made regulatory reform a centerpiece of his agenda and has signed two executive orders addressing the regulatory burden faced by the private sector. Advocacy has a unique and important role to aid agency implementation of the executive orders. To assist in accomplishing the goals of the executive orders, the office has developed a Regulatory Reform Action Plan.  
As part of this plan, Advocacy is hosting Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables across the country in an effort to hear directly from small businesses about what regulations concern them the most. TIA attended the roundtable discussion in Washington, D.C.
This is an opportunity for small business owners and stakeholders to meet in-person with Advocacy senior staff. See below for information on the next roundtables, which is free and open to the public: 
Glendale, AZ
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
8:30 AM - 12:30 PM MST
Renaissance Glendale
9495 West Coyote Boulevard
Glendale, AZ 85305
Summerlin, NV
Thursday, May 2, 2019
8:30 AM - 12:30 PM MST
JW Marriott
221 North Rampart Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89145
The purpose of Advocacy's Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables is to:
  1. Identify regional small business regulatory issues in order to assist agencies with regulatory reform and reduction in compliance with Executive Orders 13771 & 13777;
  2. Compile crucial information for Advocacy's new report on existing small business regulatory burdens across the nation, identifying specific recommendations for regulatory changes based upon first-hand accounts from small businesses across the country; and
  3. Inform and educate the small business public as to how Advocacy and SBA can assist them with their small business goals.
In order for this regulatory reform effort to be successful, we need small business participation. This will be an opportunity for small business leaders to educate Advocacy and federal agencies through firsthand accounts of how they are impacted by federal regulations. The information gathered at these roundtables will be utilized to inform agencies, congress and the public on what specific regulations can be modified or removed to help small businesses.

Let us know if you need assistance registering for a roundtable.