1. In a 216-212 vote, the House passed the Senate version of the FY 2018 budget. This sets the stage for House Republicans to formally release their long-awaited tax plan, which NECA believes will be introduced as soon as Nov. 1st.
NECA’s Look Ahead: It should be noted that twenty Republicans voted against adopting the resolution for a variety of reasons, including concerns that the budget blueprint does not balance within ten years. The budget resolution unleashes a special procedural power allowing the Senate to move forward on a tax reform bill with a simple majority vote, rather than a 60-member threshold. The move completes work on this year's budget since concurrent resolutions do not need to be signed by the President to be enacted into law. The tax blueprint included many of NECA’s top tax priorities. We will continue to advocate during the mark up for the inclusion of NECA’s key previsions:
- Restore Tax Rate Parity for All Businesses
- Establish Reasonable Top Rates
- Eliminate the Double Tax on Corporate Income
- Repeal the Estate Tax
- Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
- Make Remaining Tax Extenders Permanent
2. Earlier this month Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced the most recent attempt to expand the effective E-Verify program. The Legal Workforce Act (HR 3711), would require all U.S.-based employers to use E-Verify. The bill has various implementation phases spread out over six-month periods, beginning with the country’s largest businesses and industries. It also raises penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants or submit false information, and provides meaningful safe harbors for employers who use the system in good faith.
NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA supports the efforts of the House Judiciary Committee to implement a more widespread format of the E-Verify system that has demonstrated its effectiveness in the federal workspace for over a decade. NECA will continue to advocate for this program and work to improve its processes.
3. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz released a statement that the Puerto Rico Electric Power contract with Montana’s Whitefish Energy should be “voided right away.” The contract was awarded without a competitive bidding process and the firm had just two full-time employees.
NECA’s Look Ahead: As the exchange of words continues between the Mayor of San Juan and the Whitefish Energy Company, the possibility of Whitefish continuing its work is in question. Whitefish reportedly currently has more than 300 workers on the island, but they have threatened to send their workers home. NECA will continue to monitor the situation and advocate for an open bidding process.