Bipartisan Group of Senators Support New Infrastructure Proposal:
Last Wednesday, a bipartisan group comprised of 11 Republican U.S. Senators Richard Burr (N.C.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lindsey Graham (S.C), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (Ohio), Mitt Romney (Utah), Mike Rounds (S.D.), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Todd Young (Ind.) and Jerry Moran (Kan.), and ten Democratic and Independent Senators Chris Coons (Del.), Maggie Hassan (N.H.), John Hickenlooper (Colo.), Mark Kelly (Ariz.), Angus King (Maine), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Mark Warner (Va.), announced their support for a bipartisan infrastructure plan, stating: “We support this bipartisan framework that provides an historic investment in our nation’s core infrastructure needs without raising taxes,” the senators said. “We look forward to working with our Republican and Democratic colleagues to develop legislation based on this framework to address America’s critical infrastructure challenges.”
The framework is reported to provide $579 billion in new spending and $1.2 billion total over the next 8 years to address the nation’s critical infrastructure needs. The plan would be paid for in part by unspent COVID relief funds, public-private partnerships, and infrastructure revolving funds, avoiding significant tax increases that the White House and Democrats in Congress have proposed through rolling back portions of Republican’s signature tax law from 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
With 11 Republicans supporting the proposal, it could overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold in the Senate if Senate Majority Leader Schumer were to put the final product on the Senate floor for a vote. As it currently stands, additional details will be needed to flesh out the legislative language and determine the applicability of the recommended pay-fors.
It also remains to be seen if President Biden will support this deal, though he has called for bipartisanship in an infrastructure proposal and this could be seen as a significant bipartisan victory for the new president during a period of heightened partisanship in Washington. White House officials stated yesterday that “The White House team was grateful for the briefing from the Democratic senators involved in the infrastructure negotiations, and found it productive and encouraging. They look forward to briefing the president tomorrow after his return to the White House, and continuing to consult with senators and representatives on the path forward.”
Top Democrat Pursues Tax Hike on Small Businesses:
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (Ore.) plans to propose changes to a business deduction established in Republican’s 2017 tax law. Reports have indicated that Sen. Wyden’s legislation, which is still being drafted, will take aim at a temporary deduction of up to 20% that is available under Section 199A for partnerships, LLCs, and other entities taxed only at the individual owner level. Wyden will likely aim to start phasing out the deduction for individuals making above $400,000 in annual business income, with the perk unavailable for people making over $500,000.
While changes to the pass-through deduction weren’t included in President Joe Biden’s infrastructure and social spending proposals, Kimberly Clausing, a top Biden U.S. Treasury official, said recently that she “wouldn’t read much into the absence” of the 199A break from the administration’s plans so far. ABC will oppose any changes to section 199A that would increase taxes for our small businesses and has worked to support a permanent extension of the provision, which is set to expire after 2025. ABC will continue to provide updates on this proposal and our efforts to maintain this critical small business tax deduction.
Republicans Shoot Down Manchin Campaign Legislation Compromise:
This week, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) circulated a memo to his Democratic colleagues with recommended changes to the ABC-opposed S. 1, the For the People Act. This proposal comes ahead of a planned procedural show vote by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) next week, that is doomed to fail with complete opposition from Republican Senators. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said today that Republicans would also oppose the compromise election reform proposal put forward by Sen. Manchin, stating: "I would make this observation about the revised version ... all Republicans I think will oppose that as well if that were to be what surfaced on the floor.”
Supreme Court Tosses Out Obamacare Lawsuit:
The Supreme Court on Thursday threw out a lawsuit threatening the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, finding that Republican-led states behind the case did not have legal ground to challenge the landmark health care law. The 7-2 decision preserves President Obama’s signature health care legislation and may serve as the final chapter on the legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act.
The latest case was brought by a group of 18 states led by Texas and two individuals. The Trump White House had also filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs, that had taken issue with the controversial “individual mandate” that originally required all Americans to have health insurance or pay a financial penalty, though Congress rendered the provision irrelevant in 2017 when it reduced the penalty for individuals to nothing.
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