Congress Returns with Focus on Employer Issues

Congress Returns with Focus on Employer Issues

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Congress is planning an “Employer Week” that may include consideration of several of NAHU’s policy priorities, including restoring the 40-hour workweek, further delaying the Cadillac Tax and providing employer reporting relief, among other issues. The main pieces of legislation expected to be considered include: H.R. 3798 to restore the 40-hour workweek, H.R. 4616 to provide retroactive employer mandate relief and provide an additional year to the already enacted delays of the Cadillac Tax (extending the delay to 2023), H.R. 1150 to eliminate the ACA’s excise tax on indoor tanning, and forthcoming legislation to eliminate 1095B tax forms and the bottom of 1095C that requires issuers to send notices to individuals enrolled in their coverage.

House leadership is also in the process of advancing a package termed “Tax Cuts 2.0,” that would expand on the tax cuts enacted under last year’s reconciliation tax cuts law. The new legislation could include several HSA-related provisions that NAHU has been advocating, including provisions from H.R. 6311 that would allow both spouses to make catch-up contributions to the same HSA, allow working seniors eligible for Medicare Part A to contribute to HSAs and let balances on FSAs to be carried over each year. The 2.0 package would also extend individual tax cuts that were set to expire at the end of 2025 and revert to their previous levels and potentially further reduce the corporate tax rate that was reduced from 35% to 21% under last year’s package. Other provisions include eliminating the age cap for IRA contributions, creating a universal savings account similar to the already operational myRA, permitting tax-free use of retirement savings for childcare costs, and expanding eligible uses of 529 savings funds. The markup for the legislative package is tentatively scheduled for next Thursday, September 13.

The next few weeks are expected to be particularly busy for Congress. They will be in session next week, then back in-district for a brief week-long recess, before returning for an intensive three week stretch. They will then be out of session from October 13 through November 12 as they focus on the November elections. This puts significant pressure on Congress to advance several must-pass pieces of legislation as well as other priority legislative packages before the “Lame Duck” session begins in November. This includes advancing an appropriations package, which are currently three separate “mini bus” packages, to avoid another government shutdown on September 30, in addition to reauthorizing programs and funding set to expire at the end of the year. The current expectation is for a short-term continuing resolution to last through mid-December, before they adjourn this session of Congress on December 13.

The Senate’s agenda is expected to be consumed by the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, who Republican leaders hope to confirm before the court begins its next term on October 1. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has also suggested the chamber will prioritize advancing other judicial and executive branch nominees over the coming weeks. The Senate is additionally in the final stages of negotiation on an opioids package that they would then need to conference to work out any differences with the House-passed opioids package. This process may take into December to complete.