December 7, 2023

Washington Wire: Tell Your U.S. Representative to Fix R&D NOW!



Tell Your U.S. Representative to Fix R&D NOW!
If you want the U.S. House to vote THIS WEEK on a bill to fix the new R&D tax, you need to ACT NOW!
Some lawmakers are trying to add new provisions to a committee-passed tax bill that could derail this critical One Voice-endorsed legislation. We need you to contact your Representative and tell them to support, as written, the Build It in America Act (H.R. 3938) as part of the Ways & Means American Families and Jobs Act. 
This bill eliminates the requirement to capitalize and amortize Research and Development activities while permitting companies to expense their R&D, all retroactive to January 1, 2022. In addition, the bill we support reinstates 100 percent bonus depreciation from 80 percent and restores the full EBITDA standard as part of Section 163(j) interest deductibility. 
Your voice matters and Congress needs to hear from you about the negative consequences of not acting to reverse the changes made to these tax provisions. Click here to contact your members of Congress TODAY and call on them to support the American Families and Jobs Act as written and not delay a vote this week.



Final Electronic Recordkeeping Rule Released
On Friday, July 21, 2023, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration formally issued a final “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” rule. The final rule will be effective on January 1, 2024.  
The Biden administration released a proposed rule in March 2022 that would amend the occupational injury and illness recordkeeping requirements, returning the regulation to requirements first put in place during the Obama administration.
Under current rules, which were narrowed by the Trump administration, companies with 250 or more employees as well as small employers with 20 or more employees in “designated industries”, including manufacturing, are required to annually submit OSHA Form 300A, a summary of work-related injuries and illnesses.
Under the final rule
  • Establishments with 20-249 employees in designated industries (including all manufacturing) will continue to be required to electronically submit information from Form 300A annual summary once a year.
  • All establishments with 250 or more employees will be required to electronically submit information from Form 300A.
  • Establishments with 100 or more employees in designated hazardous industries will be required to electronically submit information from Forms 300 and 301.
These hazardous designated industries include 3315-Foundries, 3321-Forging and Stamping, 3327-Machine Shops; Turned Products; and Screw, Nut, and Bolt Manufacturing, 3331-Agricultrue, Construction, and Mining Machinery Manufacturing, 3335-Metalworking Machinery Manufacturing, 3363-Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing.
While not expressly included in the regulation, OSHA does mention its intention to publicly post information from the submitted data online. 
One Voice has repeatedly raised concerns since the initial Obama-era rule was proposed in 2013, that the information, without proper explanation to the general public, will mislead them to believe that manufacturing facilities are unsafe. One voice submitted comments to OSHA on the proposed rule in June 2022 arguing that the rule does not improve workplace safety and will only create a misperception of manufacturing as a dangerous occupation, making it tougher for manufacturers to recruit young people and qualified employees into manufacturing careers.




Revised WOTUS Rule to be Released
The Environmental Protection Agency is set to soon issue a new final definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS). The EPA, on July 17, 2023, sent to the White House for review a new revised WOTUS definition following the Supreme Court's landmark Sackett v. EPA decision, which narrowed the Clean Water Act's (CWA) coverage of wetlands in part by rejecting the “significant nexus” test for jurisdiction that was a fundamental element of the Biden administration's WOTUS rule. 
The White House Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) received the “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” regulation on April 7, 2023. The review process typically takes up to 90 days but can be more or less depending on the action. The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers intend to formally issue the new definition by September 1. 
The new definition is being issued as a final regulation, as the EPA is invoking statutory authority to bypass notice-and-comment procedures for “good cause” following the SCOTUS decision. The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) agencies can enact final rules without taking comment on a proposed version in limited cases, including where the agency has “good cause” to find that the notice-and-comment process would be “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” 



China Tariff Review May Conclude This Fall
The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) expects to complete the statutorily required four-year review of the Section 301 tariff actions, which placed 25 percent and 7.5 percent tariffs on more than 10,000 imported goods from China, “in the fall of this year,” according to comments made by United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai. 
The formal review, which began over a year ago, has been examining “the effectiveness in achieving the objectives” of the initial action and other actions that could be taken, as well as “the effects of such actions on the United States economy, including consumers.” In addressing questions from the Senate Finance Committee, Ambassador Tai said that USTR is “reviewing the overall structure of the tariffs, including which products should be subject to additional duties.” She noted that USTR solicited public comments “on whether certain tariff headings should remain covered by the actions or removed,” adding, “USTR continues to consider additional exclusion processes, as warranted.”
The tariffs have remained in place as USTR continues its statutorily required review.



U.S.-EU to Move Forward with Critical Minerals Agreement
The United States and European Union will be officially moving forward in negotiations on a critical minerals deal, following the approval of the EU member states on July 20, 2023. The US and EU agreed to launch talks on a critical minerals agreement in March, but those talks had to be greenlit by the EU member states 
The negotiating directives approved by the member states instruct the Commission to pursue an agreement that strengthens “the trade in and diversification of international supply chains of critical minerals and promote the adoption of electric vehicle battery technologies by formalising the shared commitment of the European Union and United States of America to facilitate trade, promote fair competition and market-oriented conditions for trade in critical minerals, ensure trade-related robust labour and environmental standards in supply chains of critical minerals, and cooperate in efforts to ensure secure, sustainable, and equitable critical minerals supply chains.”
Currently, the U.S. has a critical minerals agreement in place with Japan and is also in negotiations with the United Kingdom.