Today In Washington
October 23, 2017
Source: AEO Government Relations Team, Madison Services Group
All Eyes on the House: Tax Reform
This week, the House will consider and vote on the Senate-passed FY 2018 Budget Resolution. During the Senate debate last week, House and Senate GOP leadership came to an agreement that would eliminate the need to conference the House and Senate resolutions. Under this agreement, the House would accept the Senate’s reconciliation language authorizing $1.5 trillion over 10 years for both Congressional tax-writing committees to produce reform legislation. The House had previously insisted on deficit-neutral tax cuts, however, had authorized $300 billion over 10 years for tax reform. The House also gave up its insistence on over $200 billion in mandatory domestic spending cuts over 10 years. The Senate agreed to accept the House’s push for higher defense spending without offsets, or cost reductions, in other areas of the federal government.
By removing the need to conference the two budget resolutions, Congressional GOP leadership hope to avoid any time-consuming legislative hurdles, and pass tax reform by the end of the year.
SBA 30-Day Comment Period on HUBZones and PROMESA
Today, the SBA announced a 30-day comment period for a final rule removing the 20% population cap on metropolitan statistical area (MSA) eligibility as qualified census tract (QCT) for the HUBZone program in Puerto Rico. This rule is in accordance with the HUBZone provisions of the “Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act,” or “PROMESA.” If the SBA does not receive significant adverse comments by November 22, 2017, the rule will go into effect without further action on December 22, 2017. You can find the text of the announcement here.
SBA Office of Advocacy Regional Roundtables
Throughout the year, the SBA Office of Advocacy has been hosting a series of Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables across the country. The goal of these roundtables is to gather small businesses’ input about federal regulations that they find most burdensome. On Friday, the Office of Advocacy published their letters to federal agency heads with their observations and suggestions. They include the following:
• Ensure Treasury is accounting for the small business impact when implementing any changes created by tax reform legislation.
• Exempt small private companies from the penalties and requirements associated with deferred compensation arrangements under Internal Revenue Code section 409A.
• Simplify the tax and inventory accounting rules.
Department of Labor
• Affirmative Action and Nondiscrimination Obligations of Contractors and Subcontractors Regarding Individuals with Disabilities:
o Small business representatives were concerned with the paperwork costs and hiring goals for individuals with disabilities for federal contractors, particularly in certain industries like construction.
• Federal Paid Sick Leave for Government Contractors:
o Small businesses were concerned about this final rule that requires parties that contract with the Federal Government to provide their employees with up to seven days of paid sick leave annually. Small businesses from the construction industry commented that this rule is difficult to implement in their project-based character of their work; others have had a hard time incorporating their current paid time off programs with the requirements of this rule. This rule has also been problematic for concessionaires and lease holders in federal and military buildings; they cannot recover the costs from the federal government. Advocacy has written a comment letter on this issue.
• Moratorium on Enforcement of Federal Contractor Requirements Against Hospitals:
o Small business representatives recommend that OFCCP extend the moratorium on enforcement of federal contractor requirements against hospitals receiving TRICARE and other federal health care reimbursement programs. Federal contractor status imposes affirmative action recordkeeping and reporting burdens on small hospitals.
Please find the links to all the letters below.
• Secretary Sonny Perdue, U.S. Department of Agriculture
• Secretary Betsy DeVos, U.S. Department of Education
• Secretary Rick Perry, U.S. Department Energy
• Administrator Scott Pruitt, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
• Chairman Ajit Pai, Federal Communications Commission
• Acting Secretary Don J. Wright, M.D., U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
• Acting Secretary Elaine C. Duke, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
• Secretary Ryan Zinke, U.S. Department of the Interior
• Attorney General Jeff Sessions, U.S. Department of Justice
• Secretary Alexander Acosta, U.S. Department of Labor
• Secretary Rex W. Tillerson, U.S. Department of State
• Secretary Elaine Chao, U.S. Department of Transportation
• Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Department of the Treasury
• Administrator Linda McMahon, U.S. Small Business Administration (link to come)
Wednesday, 10/25 @ 11 a.m.: House Small Business Committee – “GAO Audit Reveals Half-Measures Taken by Small Business Advocates.” 2360 Rayburn House Office Building.
Thursday, 10/26 @ 10 a.m.: House Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax & Capital Access: “Financing Through Fintech: Online Lending’s Role in Improving Small Business Capital Access.” 2630 Rayburn House Office Building.
Thursday, 10/26 @ 10:30 a.m.: Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee – “Strengthening the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem for Women.” 428A Russell Senate Office Building.