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Lame Duck Update and Tax Extenders Call to Action
Congress returned to Washington, D.C. from its Thanksgiving break early this week to continue its lame duck session.  On Tuesday, House GOP leadership met with President Trump to discuss a number of priority issues including funding the federal government and the farm bill.  Additionally, late Monday evening, Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee released a draft tax bill that includes some technical corrections to the Tax Reform Bill as well as tax extenders.


The main obstacle to passing the remaining seven appropriations bill is President Trump’s continued call for $5 billion for the southern border wall construction.  Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), chairman of the Appropriations committee, has offered to direct $2.5 billion annually over the next two years for border construction.  The ranking Democrat on the committee, Pat Leahy (D-VT), has not rejected the proposal.  Nevertheless, lawmakers are uncertain if President Trump will accept this compromise.  Throughout this process, the President has threaten to allow federal funding to lapse and therefore, the government to shut down, should he not receive the entire $5.0 billion in FY 2019.   Further complicating these efforts are recent statements by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer indicating that his caucus will only support $1.6 billion in FY 2019 funding.

A funding package must be passed by December 7 when the current continuing resolution expires.  Whether it is a large Omnibus spending package that includes all the remaining seven bills or smaller groups of spending packages has yet to be determined.  The fight around the border wall may become too troublesome to pass a spending package inducing Congress to pass a long-term continuing resolution until either next spring or possibly for the entire 2019 fiscal year.

Farm Bill

The leadership of both the Senate and House Committees are pushing to resolve any remaining issues to the Farm bill by the end of this week.  We have been told by Senate staff that the final version will closely resemble the Senate version of which the ABC was supportive.  We are very hopeful that the spending levels will remain the same if not very similar.



Late Monday evening, Kevin Brady (R-TX), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, released a draft tax package that contained a number of priority items which the current Chairman would like to see addressed before he steps down from leading the committee.  The legislation includes technical corrections to the Tax Reform bill, a permanent extension for short line railroads, a long term extension with a phase out for biodiesel and a one year retroactive extension for other tax provisions including for open and closed loop biomass as well as the alternative fuel tax credit.  Chairman Brady did not share a draft of the legislation previous to its release with Democratic counterparts on Ways and Means or on Senate Finance Committees and caught a number of members off guard.

This proposal is far below the five year extension long proposed by the ABC and falls short of the Senate discussion of one year retroactive (2018) and one year prospective (2019).  We will be calling on you, our best advocates, to reach out to members of the Senate Finance Committee to urge them to pass a two year extension through the end of 2019.

Going forward into the new Congress, the outlook for green tech and biofuels is far better.  In coming Democratic leadership have already promised to focus on renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure.  Should the Section 45 PTC not be extended beyond 2018, it will be one of the first issues the ABC pushes for in 2019 and will hopefully be addressed soon by the new Congress.   But we are not giving up the fight to push now for a two year extension.


We ask that you, our ABC members, contact every member of the Senate Finance Committee and urge them to include a two year extension — through December 31, 2019 — of the section 45 PTC in any end-of-year tax package.

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