1. Congress continues to scramble to figure out a solution to the latest “transportation cliff.” Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) introduced the Highway Trust Fund Certainty Act, H.R. 2971, which proposes a revenue-neutral raise of the federal motor fuel taxes by 10.1 cents per gallon. This rate increase would eliminate the fund’s deficit and index the new rate to inflation, ensuring the fund remains solvent in the future. To offset the rate increase, H.R. 2971 creates a new income tax credit of $130 for individuals with an earned income up to $74,950, and up to $266 for joint filers with a combined earned income up to $149,900. The effect of the bill will not raise revenue, but rather move money from the general fund into the Highway Trust Fund, creating a long-term stream of income for the fund. In related news, Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) introduced the ‘Transportation Empowerment Act,” a NECA-opposed bill that would strip away most federal funding for surface transportation projects, eliminate the federal government’s constitutionally mandated role in promoting interstate commerce, and put increased tax burden on the states to fund transportation projects.
NECA’s Look Ahead: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) appear to be on differing paths to extend highway funding past the July 31 deadline. Chairman Ryan and House leaders are working to find $8 billion needed to patch the trust fund until the end of 2015. An extension of just a few months would allow time to put together a bipartisan deal to revamp the U.S.’s international tax system, reflecting support for a tax reform and highway plan announced by Ryan, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) this week. This plan would tax the profits that U.S. multinational corporations have offshore, at far lower than the 35 percent corporate rate, to pay for road projects. Congress’ end game is to pursue a short-term extension of the federal highway program to allow one last chance to try to revamp the tax code before the politics of the 2016 elections overtakes the conversation.
2. The Power, Efficiency and Resiliency (POWER) Act, S. 1516/H.R. 2657, was reintroduced by Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) in the House and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in the Senate on June 4, 2015. This NECA-supported legislation would increase the investment tax credit for combined heat and power from 10 percent to 30 percent to match other energy sources like solar and fuel cells; apply the tax credit to waste heat to power; apply the tax credit to the first 25 megawatts of CHP projects, instead of the current 15 megawatts, and eliminate the 50 megawatt project size cap to incentivize additional projects; and extend the tax credit for an additional two years, through 2018.
NECA’s Look Ahead: Send a letter to your Senators and Representative today to cosponsor the POWER Act.
3. NECA’s government affairs team is hosting a FREE webinar on Tuesday, July 21 at 2:00 PM EDT that will cover everything you need to know about hosting a successful Congressional meeting during the August recess.
NECA’s Look Ahead: Register today to make the most out of the August recess!