Wrapping up the 111th Congress
Before November’s new Members of Congress officially begin their terms, the 111th Congress was attempting to finish legislation and adjourn for the year. The two issues most pressing – expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts and various tax extenders, and funding for the federal government – were being dealt with just before Christmas.
Both the Senate and the House have passed, and the President will sign, a compromise tax bill that includes many provisions that otherwise would expire at the end of 2010:
- Extends through 2012 the 10 percent, 25 percent, 28 percent, 33 percent, and 35 percent income tax brackets
- Renews and extends for 13 months expired funding for emergency unemployment benefits
- Cuts the Social Security payroll tax from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent for one year
- Allows businesses to write off the full cost of capital investments for one year
- Extends the “patch”to prevent millions of additional taxpayers from having to pay the alternative minimum tax (AMT).
- A 35 percent estate,gift and generation-skipping tax rate
- A $5 million reunified inflation-adjusted exemption for estate, gift and generation-skipping taxes
- An estate executor election for decedents dying in 2010.
The MCAA and our allies have met with DoD and Congressional officials to argue that pursuing a 50-year life-cycle cost criterion would benefit taxpayers significantly, as operations and maintenance costs will lower. Further, there are other safety, environmental, and efficiency benefits that are in the best interests of our military men and women and the U.S. taxpayer. We remain hopeful that the final spending bill passed by the 111th Congress will include this important language.
The Senate has been unable to push for a long-term omnibus spending bill, and it is looking more likely that both the House and Senate will pass a short-term continuing resolution that will fund the federal government through February 2011. At that point, the new Congress will have to set spending levels for the remainder of the fiscal year (through Sept. 30, 2011) and begin working on funding for fiscal year 2012, which begins on Oct. 1, 2011.
As discussed in previous columns, there will be much change in the membership of the 112th Congress. New members, new committee chairmen, and a new legislative agenda and outlook will continue to provide opportunities for the MCAA to work with our allies on the issues important to us and see good public policy enacted.We look forward to the convention in Las Vegas and speaking with you about opportunities for legislative wins.
About the Authors
Matthew B. Keelen, founder and President of the government affairs firm The Keelen Group, is a widely known and highly regarded lobbyist and political strategist with experience building relationships with key figures and a reputation for consistently delivering hard-earned victories. Acknowledged for his innate ability to establish and develop long lasting political relationships, Keelen has dozens of time-tested relationships with Members of Congress, including many who are in positions of considerable influence today. To learn more about The Keelen Group, visit www.keelengroup.com.
Michael J. Falencki is the Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of policy for The Keelen Group, a government relations/lobbying, consulting and strategic services practice in Washington, D.C. Michael spent more than four years working on Capitol Hill and has spearheaded policy, legislative, and communications strategies for a host of clients, including the Mason Contractors Association of America, AT&T, The Society of the Plastics Industry and Archer Daniels Midland. To learn more about The Keelen Group, visit www.keelengroup.com.