December 7, 2023

Washington Wire: Urge Congress to Reinstate Full Immediate R&D Expensing



Urge Congress to Reinstate Full Immediate R&D Expensing 
Lawmakers are not moving with the needed sense of urgency to reinstate full expensing for Research and Development activities. They need to hear from you to push them to act!
Despite strong support in Congress, and the efforts of manufacturers and others who lobbied lawmakers, Congress could not come to an agreement to include key tax provisions in the year-end omnibus funding bill, such as a provision to reinstate full immediate expensing for the bipartisan Research and Development credit, which is now amortized over five years as of January 1, 2022. This results in the status quo for businesses that had hoped for a fix for R&D. 
Your voice matters and Congress needs to hear from you about the negative consequences of not acting to reinstate full R&D expensing. Contact your members of Congress TODAY and call on them to support American manufacturers by passing legislation reversing the R&D amortization provision and reinstating full expensing.
Click here and make your voice heard!



Pell Legislation Introduced in Congress
Multiple bills have been introduced in Congress expanding or altering the federal Pell Grant Program. In the Senate, Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Mike Braun (R-IN) reintroduced the Jumpstarting our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act (S.161), which would expand the use of federal Pell Grants to include short-term workforce education programs. One Voice has long supported the JOBS Act and repeatedly called on Congress to pass legislation to expand Pell Grant eligibility and increase access to critical job training programs. 
The JOBS Act would allow Pell Grants to be used for high-quality job training programs at community or technical colleges that provide at least 150 clock hours of instruction over a period of at least eight weeks and lead to industry-recognized credentials or certificates.
A companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Bill Johnson (R-OH), Lisa Blunt-Rochester (D-DE), Michael Turner (R-OH), and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ).
Additionally, a group of House Republicans introduced a separate bill extending Pell eligibility to certain short-term workforce programs. The Promoting Employment and Lifelong Learning (PELL) Act was introduced by House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA), and Rep. "GT" Thompson (R-PA). Unlike the JOBS Act, the PELL Act would put in place numerous requirements for programs to qualify for Pell Grant usage including being in operation for more than one year, being aligned with the requirements of in-demand industry sectors or occupations, having a completion rate of 70% or better within 150% of normal completion time, having a job placement rate of at least 70%, and being evaluated by an accreditor who can ensure students will be qualified for employment upon completion. 
A short-term Pell provision was added as an amendment to the House’s China competition bill last Congress, the America COMPETES Act, but wasn’t included in the final legislation, the CHIPS and Science Act, which became law in August 2022. 



State AGs Petition for Emergency Heat Rule
Attorneys General (AG) from seven states are petitioning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to protect workers from heat exposure. The attorneys general of California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania call for an ETS, effective May 1, 2023, that applies when the heat index reaches 80° F.
The February 9 petition from the seven Democratic AGs comes as OSHA is actively working to develop a heat illness and injury prevention rule. The National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) Heat Injury and Illness Prevention Work Group is currently in the process of reviewing comments on the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) issued in October 2021. The Work Group will then develop recommendations to forward to OSHA on a proposed standard. Additionally, OSHA is expected to soon begin the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) process to consult with small businesses on the impact of a potential heat rule. 
While the AGs, in their petition, say that they support a permanent standard, “that process is expected to take several years, leaving millions of outdoor and indoor workers exposed to dangerous levels of heat in the interim.” The AGs believe that an ETS is needed to fill the void between now and when a final standard is in place. 




NEPA Phase 2 Rule Under Final Review
The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has sent to the White House for review the draft phase 2 plan overhauling Trump-era National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) implementing rules. The White House Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) received the Phase 2 NEPA rule on January 30. The review process typically takes up to 90 days.
The CEQ first intended to issue the regulation to overhaul how agencies implement NEPA in August, but the development of the proposed Phase 2 rule has taken longer than anticipated. The CEQ cited the enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act as an example of a recent development that the CEQ had to consider the impacts and incorporate into the pending proposal. 
The Phase 2 rule is expected to address a host of complex issues that the Biden administration left out of its Phase 1 rule, which was relatively narrow. The Phase 1 rule marked three core changes to NEPA. Under the final rule agencies again are required to assess direct, indirect, and cumulative effects. The rule also reverts to the prior definition of a project's "purpose and need" to stress it is not the applicant's prerogative; and states that the CEQ rule is the floor, not the ceiling, for how agencies implement NEPA when they review major federal actions. 
Provisions in the Trump-era NEPA rule not addressed in the Phase 1 rule include the broadening of categorical exclusions, limiting the universe of projects subject to NEPA review, and making it more difficult to challenge NEPA reviews in court. In addition, requirements limiting the length of environmental reviews and imposing hard deadlines for completing them also remain in effect. While the Phase 2 rule will address some of those provisions, it is not expected to dispose of everything included in the Trump NEPA rule. 
This second rule follows the Phase 1 regulation finalized in April 2022. The CEQ has also stated its intention to release a third action, developing guidance for how to consider greenhouse gases and climate change in NEPA reviews.

Treasury Issues Guidance on Clean Manufacturing Tax Credit
The Treasury Department has released initial guidance on the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) tax credits for advanced clean energy projects under Section 48C, the Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Credit. 
Section 48C provides $10 billion in credits for qualifying advanced energy projects which include clean energy manufacturing and recycling projects; GHG reductions at industrial or manufacturing facilities; or "critical materials projects" related to processing, refining, or recycling those materials.
Credits are only available for projects recommended by the Department of Energy (DOE). DOE will review concept papers and provide applicants with a letter of encouragement or discouragement for submissions of a full application for credit allocation. At least two rounds of funding will be conducted, with the first opening on May 31, 2023. The released guidance instructs those seeking consideration in the first round of credit allocations to submit their concept papers to DOE by July 31, 2023.