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NECA Legislative Top Three 11/30/18: Pension Reform in the Spotlight

Nov 29, 2018

1. NECA Discusses Apprenticeships with Department of Education

Earlier this week, top NECA executives met with leadership from the Department of Education's Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) to discuss ways that NECA, which champions the most respected approved apprenticeship in the country, can better work together to address the cultural and systematic prejudices against young adults joining apprenticeships. The meeting, part of a continuing series of meetings about workforce development with the Trump Administration, lasted nearly an hour and covered topics relating to accreditation, grant programs, and the structure of our apprenticeship program.

NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA will continue to work with OCTAE to find ways to encourage growth in our industry and to better address the skilled labor shortage. Further conversations with the Department of Education will allow our program to continue to gain prominence when considered as a viable alternative to a traditional four-year college education.

2. Tax and Oversight Package Released

On November 26, 2018, Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) released a tax and oversight package that includes the Retirement, Savings, and Other Tax Relief Act of 2018 and the Taxpayer First Act of 2018. 

NECA’s Look Ahead: This package is expected to be considered in the House and expanded upon in the Senate, where NECA will continue to advocate for the inclusions of NECA-supported provisions and for its final passage.

As of right now, the package includes:

  • Tax Relief for individuals and businesses affected by certain presidentially declared major disasters in 2018, including:

    • Hurricane Florence in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. 

    • Hurricane Michael in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.

    • Typhoon Yutu in the Northern Mariana Islands. 

    • Typhoon Mangkhut in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

    • The Mendocino, Camp, and Woolsey fires in California. 

    • The Kilauea volcanic eruption and earthquakes in Hawaii.

    • Severe storms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides in Hawaii in April

  • Tax extenders to renew more than two dozen tax provisions that expired at the end of 2017, and two that will expire after 2018.

  • Technical changes to the 2017 tax overhaul law, which would be effective as if they were originally included.

  • Retirement savings provisions that were also included in NECA-supported H.R. 6757. However, this package does not yet include the NECA-supported H.R. 3395, The529 Options Act, which was included in H.R. 6757.

  • We are also urging Congress to fix the investment tax credit (ITC) in Section 48 and 25 of the tax code regarding energy storage as an eligible technology, which would ensure a level playing field for energy storage to compete with all other energy resources made eligible for the ITC.

3. Congress Working to Avoid Partial Government Shutdown

Members of the House and Senate Appropriation Committee are working to avoid a partial government shutdown when government funding expires on December 7, 2018.

NECA’s Look Ahead: Earlier this year Congress reached an agreement to fund over half of the government. Of the twelve bills to fully fund the government, five have passed and are signed into law. These bills provide funding for the areas of defense, energy and water, labor, health and human services, the legislative branch and veterans affairs.

There are seven other spending bills that need to be passed by December 7 to avoid a partial shutdown, a shutdown which President Trump is currently supporting. The bills that need approval would fund the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Interior, State, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development. It is still too early to predict if a shutdown will occur with negotiations expected to continue throughout the weekend. NECA will continue to weigh in with Congress about the dangers of even a partial shutdown.