Congressional Update

Last week, the House passed a bipartisan tax plan that, if enacted, would majorly benefit businesses. Specifically, if the Senate passes the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024, it will provide several things, including (1) an extension of 100 percent bonus depreciation (full expensing), applying retroactively to 2023; (2) an increase in the small business expensing amount allowable under Section 179; and (3) an expanded child tax credit. It’s unknown at this time if the Senate will take up the measure as several GOP Senators have voiced concerns over the expanded child tax credit.

Aside from House passage of the tax bill, House and Senate Appropriators are continuing to work on funding the government for the duration of FY 2024, and members of those committees have reached agreement on top-line numbers for their 12 individual spending bills (302(b)s). While this is a significant step forward, members have not announced those numbers publicly at this time, instead preferring to work on their funding bills privately. Immigration was also a focal point this week, with Senate negotiators still working on a border security package while members of the House consider whether to impeach Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Aside from the tax bill and appropriations, Washington was generally quiet this week, however, there were a few items that will be of interest to EMA members. This includes the Senate confirming Joseph Goffman to be Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation at the Environmental Protection Agency. Mr. Goffman was confirmed by a razor-thin 50-49 vote. While Democrats applauded the confirmation, Republicans including Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) opposed Goffman “because of the misguided policies he has developed and shepherded over years, both during the Obama administration and during the Biden administration.” Regardless, he is now confirmed to lead the EPA’s oversight of rules pertaining to emissions-related climate and clean air provisions. Relatedly, with former Secretary of State John Kerry stepping back from his role as Presidential Envoy on Climate, the White House announced that John Podesta will be stepping into the role.

Separately, while many had voiced concerns for the past year that the Administration would, among other environmental matters, consider banning gas stoves. Well, on Monday, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued its rule and people can continue cooking, as the new rule doesn’t take those controversial steps. In fact, according to DOE, “approximately 97 percent of gas stove models and 77 percent of smooth electric stove models on the market already meet [the new] standards” and that the Administration’s actions “will together provide nearly $1 trillion in consumer savings over 30 years.”