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Advocacy Top Three 6/16/17

Jun 15, 2017

1. This week the House passed ten NECA-supported energy infrastructure bills with a large bipartisan majority. An especially important piece of legislation that passed was H.R. 338, to Promote a 21st Century Energy and Manufacturing Workforce introduced by Reps. Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Richard Hudson (R-NC).

NECA’s Look Ahead: This vote is one of the first votes on significant Energy legislation the House has taken up. NECA commends the quick turnaround time that allowed the bills to be marked up in committee and voted on within one week. In the Senate, NECA also has lent its support to legislation that would authorize a report to explore the status of and barriers to grid integration, to establish a stakeholder working group to address ways to overcome those barriers, and provide a competitive state grant program to fund demonstration projects. The bill, the “Grid Integration Act” (S.1201) is sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and offers a low-cost approach to identify a problem and provides incentives for states to determine the best way to overcome it. It does not place any mandates on states or utilities.

2. On June 15, 2017, the House Small Business Committee unanimously approved a NECA-supported bill that would offer contractors the ability to continue work without fear of withheld payments for change orders. The bill, the Small Business Payment for Performance Act of 2017 (H.R. 2594), is sponsored by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and would require partial payment of 50 percent within the time frame specified by the Prompt Payment Act for any additional change order work. The bill will help contractors maintain cash flow and limit the financial risk placed on contractors.

NECA’s Look Ahead: After an extremely collaborative effort with the sponsors of this legislation, NECA is confident this bill has the ability to pass through the House and onto the Senate where it will be met with approval.

3. NECA, as a member of the Family Business Estate Tax Coalition (FBETC), sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin asking that he formally withdraw the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service’s Proposed Regulations on “Estate, Gift, and Generation-Skipping Transfer Taxes; Restrictions on Liquidation of an Interest,” 81 Fed. Reg. 51,413 (August 4, 2016), pursuant to Executive Orders 13789 and 13790.

NECA’s Look Ahead: The FBETC is a grassroots coalition of over 50 national organizations representing family-owned business organizations dedicated to protecting all family-owned businesses from the estate tax.  The Coalition expressed its strong opposition to the Treasury’s proposed regulation to deny family-owned businesses ordinary valuation discounts for lack of control and lack of marketability when calculating gift and estate tax liability.  The proposed regulations will discourage families from continuing to operate and build their family businesses and passing them on to future generations, undermining economic growth and job creation. The coalition strongly believes that the estate tax regulations meet all the criteria outlined in Executive Orders 13789 and 13790, and should, therefore, be withdrawn. On November 2, 2016, the FBETC submitted comments on the proposed regulation. The comments outline in detail how the proposed regulations far exceed IRS’s statutory authority, would have a significant financial impact on family-owned businesses, would add needless tax complexity to those entities, and fails to comply with the Regulatory Flexibility Act. 
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