1. The House Ways and Means Committee completed its work on H.R.1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Before passing the legislation out of committee by a party-line vote of 24-16, Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) offered a second manager’s amendment, the text of which is here and a section-by-section summary is here. Meanwhile the Senate Finance Committee introduced a summary draft and detailed description of their version of the bill. There are several major differences between the House and Senate bills detailed in this PowerPoint we have prepared.
NECA’s Look Ahead: While there is still a great amount for NECA contractors to like, we have grave concerns over how pass-through companies can take advantage and qualify for the lower 25 percent rate for S Corporations in the House bill. We have other concerns about how passthroughs are treated in the Senate bill and that the bill does not fully repeal the estate tax or provide real structural reform to individual tax rates. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said that the full House will vote on H.R. 1 next week. The Senate Finance Committee will begin consideration of the bill starting Monday, November 13 at 4pm with opening statements. We expect a modified draft will be offered the next day when they begin the amendment process. The Committee’s goal is to finish up by Thursday November 16, go home for Thanksgiving and put the bill on the Senate floor the week of November 27th with an open amendment process.
2. NECA sent a letter of support for H.R.3043 the Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017, which was introduced by Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). This bill would allow the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to consolidate the multiagency licensing process for hydropower projects. Additionally, the bill would speed the consideration of hydropower applications and would increase to 15 percent, from 7.5 percent, the share of electricity used by the federal government that should come from renewable sources, including hydropower.
NECA’s Look Ahead: This NECA supported legislation passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday night in a 257 to 166 vote. NECA will continue to advocate for this legislation in the Senate along with comprehensive energy reform.
3. As a member of the Transportation Construction Coalition, NECA sent a letter to the Senate Finance committee in support of maintaining the tax-exempt status for Private Activity Bonds (PABs). NECA also submitted formal comments to the Federal Highway Administration in support of the proposed repeal of requirements for carbon dioxide (CO2)-based greenhouse gas (GHG) performance measurement and management.
NECA’s Look Ahead: The House tax bill currently calls for the termination of PABs, making it especially important that the Senate does not follow course. NECA will continue to advocate for the repeal of the performance measurement and management requirements and any federal ruling that would divert the resources away from highway and infrastructure investment to regulatory compliance.