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Congress on Track to Conclude FY 2024 Funding Efforts: Congress is set to conclude its work on fiscal year (FY) 2024 appropriations by passing the remaining six funding bills; this follows nearly six months of temporary spending measures keeping the government open. Early Thursday morning, appropriators released the text of the “minibus” package, including funding for the final tranche of FY 2024 appropriations bills—comprised of State-Foreign Operations, Defense, Homeland Security, Labor-HHS, Legislative Branch and Financial Services-General Government. Both Democrats and Republicans claimed victories in the measure, with Republicans pointing to provisions increasing the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention beds, more border patrol agents and cuts to foreign aid. Democrats highlighted 12,000 Special Immigrant Visas for Afghans who helped the United States during the war in Afghanistan, as well as more funds for early childhood education programs.

House Ways and Means Committee Holds Field Hearing on Emergency Medical Care: On Monday, March 18, the House Ways and Means Committee held a field hearing titled “Access to Health Care in America: Ensuring Resilient Emergency Medical Care.” The discussion focused on conversions regarding rural emergency hospitals (REHs), coordination of rural health care, the expansion and financial viability of health care access and abortion access. Chair Jason Smith (R -MO) emphasized that 82% of all U.S. countries contain one ambulance desert where patients live more than 25 minutes from an ambulance post and that Congress’s new designation is helping small, rural hospitals keep their emergency rooms open but urged for further steps to assist hospital participation. Ranking Member Judy Chu (D-CA) commented that during 2024 open enrollment, 21.3 million Americans signed up for care through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces. She emphasized that Republican restrictive abortion bans are a barrier to accessing emergency care and urged them to abandon attempts that limit accessibility.

Tax Bill Update – Package Not Expected to Move Before Congressional Recess: The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act (H.R. 7024) continues to stall in the Senate, and negotiations between the Senate’s top tax writers have not made progress. Last week, both Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) reportedly offered compromises that included significant modifications to the bill’s child tax credit (CTC) provisions. However, Wyden rejected the Republicans’ offer out of concerns that it would cut too deeply into the CTC and endanger Senate Democrats’ support for the bill, and Crapo is reported to have rejected the Democrats’ offer based on a further expansion of the CTC’s refundability. Given the March 22 deadline to pass the final tranche of FY2024 appropriations bills, the Senate’s next opportunity to consider the bill will be after the upcoming two-week congressional recess. During the recess, industry supporters of the bill, as well as family advocacy groups, are expected to make a final push on the Senate to reach a compromise given their interests in the package’s business tax provisions and the CTC and low-income housing modifications on the family side of the package. The individual tax-filing deadline on April 15 continues to be the informal cutoff for action, after which enactment of the CTC provisions, in particular, will become increasingly difficult as the November election nears and the political environment in Congress will consign tax reforms to the 119th Congress.

Dual Court Rulings on Texas Immigration Law Sow Frustration and Confusion: Over recent days, there have been a pair of major developments in the legal battle between Texas and the federal government over the state’s efforts to implement its controversial immigration enforcement law. Passed by Texas’ state legislature late last year, the SB4 law would grant state officials the power to arrest, detain and deport individuals without legal authority to be in the country.

First, on the afternoon of March 19, the Supreme Court issued an order permitting the law to come into effect, ending a prior decision by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that effectively froze the law from being implemented. The high court’s decision came despite the Biden administration urging it to keep the Fifth Circuit’s stay in place. The decision was immediately followed by criticisms and condemnations from congressional Democrats and immigration advocates. On Capitol Hill, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) issued a statement declaring that the SCOTUS decision “undermines its own credibility” and said SB4 “is an alarming state overreach that will likely lead to massive civil rights violations across our state.” Similarly, Rep. Greg Casar (D-TX) told reporters that his office was receiving calls from constituents who said “they are scared that their families will be torn apart or caged” as a result of the law. For its part, the Mexican government issued a statement condemning the law’s presumptive codification, saying it would not cooperate with Texas “under any circumstances” and refusing to accept any non-Mexican asylum seekers the state would seek to deport to its southern neighbor.

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The need for fact-based reporting of issues important to multi generational businesses and protecting a lifetime of savings has never been greater. Now more than ever, multi generational businesses and family businesses are under fire. That's why Family Enterprise USA is passionately working to increase the awareness of issues important to generationally-owned family businesses built on hard work, while continuing to strengthen our presence on Capitol Hill. The issues we fight for or against with Congress in Washington DC include high income tax rates, possible elimination of valuation discounts, increase in capital gains tax, enactment of a wealth tax, and the continued burden of the gift tax, estate tax and generation skipping tax.

Family Enterprise USA promotes generationally owned family business creation, growth, viability, and sustainability by advocating for family businesses and their lifetime of savings with Congress in Washington DC.  Since 2007, Family Enterprise USA has represented and celebrated all sizes, professions and industries of family-owned enterprises and multi-generational employers. It is a bi-partisan 501.c3 organization. Family foundations can donate.

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