I want to thank all of the Family Enterprise USA andPolicy and Taxation Group members that flew into Washington, DC to participate in our combined Board Meetings and Capitol Hill visits.
Having family business leaders join us on Capitol Hill as we explain the need for the elimination of the death tax – as well as our proposal for a rate reduction to help us get there – is invaluable.
The most effective lobbyist for your message is you, the business leader and constituent of the members of Congress.
And it’s not a one-way street. One of the newest FEUSA members who had never lobbied before said the time and investment was well worth it. He learned firsthand how our democratic system works, perfected his pitch to congressional members and their staff, and left with a great appreciation for the work our organizations do.
While our meetings were productive and we hope they will bear fruit soon especially in regards to the introduction of a rate reduction bill in the House, the feedback from those in attendance regarding our dinner guest was universal praise.
Representative Bill Huizenga (MI-2-R), a third generation sand and gravel pit business owner, was extremely engaging and genuine. His recent experience with the death tax with the recent passing of his mother gave him some firsthand knowledge on what other business owners will go thru.
And while he lamented the fact that his business interests didn’t hit the current exemption, he was interested in helping us any way he could including an Op-Ed about his experience and the need for full repeal!
After a six-week summer recess, Congress returned to Washington, DC with a full plate of work and a limited timetable to produce results.
In many ways, the next few months may be the last chance for this Congress to produce any real legislation until 2021. Lawmakers in both parties agree the partisan politics of the 2020 election will kick into high gear as soon as January, making any deal-making and compromise all the more difficult.
That doesn’t leave Congress much time as the House only has 13 legislative days in September before they leave for another two-week recess — and only 45 legislative days left in the year. Senators are scheduled to be in DC for only 53 days before the end of the year.
The immediate concern, of course, is to keep the government open as current funding ends on September 30. We expect the House and Senate will need more time to negotiate the appropriations funding bills and will approve a time extension to allow them to get this done without a shutdown.
Other significant items they might consider during this end of year window also includes tighter gun restrictions, the rewrite of NAFTA, and lower prescription drugs.
Of course, what concerns us most is the possible tax agenda, and we learned that it is expected that a deal might be made on the various tax proposals in DECEMBER.
Why is that relevant?
For those that have seen the FEUSA/PATG presentation on the history of the death tax, you’ll recall that all of the tax deals that impacted our issue seem to happen in December while business is wrapping up for the year. We expect this tax bill to include a recently House-passed retirement savings bill, possible some extenders, and maybe even some “green” energy provisions.
You may recall that the House Ways & Means approved tax extenders bill used a clawback of the doubling of the estate tax extension to finance their spending. We don’t believe that will have traction in any final measure that’s approved, but we continue to press for its removal.