The end of the first session of the 114th Congress is approaching and lawmakers have been scrambling to push several bills through to the President. From appropriations to a highway funding bill, there is a considerable amount activity on Capitol Hill this coming month.
First, Congress needs to pass an omnibus bill. This is a large piece of legislation containing appropriations that can be voted on at once, rather than votes on each measure. The omnibus is intended to prevent a government shutdown, which will happen if this is not passed by December 11. In addition to funding the basics of government, the omnibus may serve as a vehicle for other issues such as tax extenders. Many tax provisions enjoyed by the public will expire at the end of the year unless reauthorized by Congress. As the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees have passed extenders bills, many lawmakers would like to use the omnibus to push these tax provisions through. Two notable credits of interest to WDMA would be 25(c) and 179D, both of which were included in the packages passed by each committee. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has indicated his willingness to include extenders in the omnibus, but the White House and some Democrats are not willing to accept that without several concessions on tax credits for low-income households. Whether these two sides come to an agreement is not currently clear.
The other notable legislative endeavor is the bipartisan effort to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). While this bill enjoys broad bipartisan support and approval of congressional committees of jurisdiction, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) has effectively placed a hold on Senate passage. He is standing firm on using the TSCA reform bill to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), as Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) has objected to a separate vote on the LWCF. Sources on Capitol Hill have spoken with WDMA government affairs staff and indicated that the TSCA reform legislation will likely be tabled until next year unless Senator Burr lifts his objection.