President Biden’s FY2025 Budget Calls for $4.9 Trillion in Tax Increases

The Biden administration this week released its $7.3 trillion FY2025 budget request, which includes $4.9 trillion in tax increases and several tax proposals impacting capital gains. The Treasury Department also released its “Green Book,” which provides detailed descriptions of the budget’s tax proposals and associated revenue estimates. (White House budget and Treasury news release, March 11)

Capital Gains Focus

  • The White House’s annual budget represents the economic policy agenda of the Biden administration. While it is a wish list with no immediate impact, it sets a marker for upcoming debates on spending and fiscal priorities in Congress and throughout the upcoming election. This week’s budget document includes many of the same tax proposals in President Biden’s previous budgets and policies outlined during his State of the Union address last week. (Roundtable Weekly, March 8 and White House Fact Sheet on the Budget, March 11)
  • The FY2025 Green Book repeats the administration’s proposal to tax capital gains at ordinary income rates—nearly doubling the capital gains rate from 20% to 39.6%.  The budget would also increase the net investment income tax from 3.8% to 5% and extend the tax to all pass-through business income, effectively ending the exception for real estate professionals active in the business. As a result, the top combined tax rate on real estate capital gains and rental income would rise to 44.6%.
  • Other tax proposals in the budget would create a 25% minimum tax on the unrealized gains and income of individuals with more than $100 million in wealth, recapture depreciation deductions at ordinary income rates when real estate is sold, and raise the top personal income tax rate from 37% to 39.6% for those making more than $400,000. The president also proposes to raise the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%. (The Hill, March 13)
  • Biden’s 2025 budget would largely eliminate the deferral of capital gain through like-kind exchanges (section 1031) and tax all carried interest as ordinary income. (White House Fact Sheet, March 11)

Tax Debates Begin

  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will testify on the administration’s budget and tax proposals before the Senate Finance Committee March 21 and during an upcoming House Ways and Means Committee hearing.
  • The Green Book will serve as a reference for congressional Democrats who develop large-scale tax legislation for the next Congress in anticipation of the expiration of 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provisions at the end of 2025.
  • As the FY2025 budget proposals spark a wide-ranging tax debate, a current $79 billion tax package—passed by the House and supported by The Roundtable—is pending in the Senate. (CQ News | Politico Pro | Tax Notes, March 15). Additional proposals in the budget impact housing policy—see story below.

Joint Employer Rule Struck

  • Separately, a federal court on March 8 blocked the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) final joint-employment standard rule. The decision from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas addressed whether the expansive definition has the potential to expose broad swaths of employers to liability for labor law violations committed by contractors or franchisees. The court vacated the NLRB rule, stating the joint-employment standard interpretation is too broad. (Politico Weekly Shift, March 11, 2024 and Roundtable Weekly, Jan. 17, 2020)

As an appeal from NLRB is expected, employers should continue to comply with the current joint-employer rule adopted in 2020. (JD Supra, March 14)

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House Ways and Means Members Call on Treasury to Withdraw FIRPTA Regulatory Proposal

House Ways and Means Committee Members Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Carol Miller (R-WV) recently called on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to withdraw a proposed IRS rule that would expand the reach of the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) of 1980. The policymakers’ request followed a letter by The Real Estate Roundtable and 14 other real estate trade organizations that urged congressional tax-writing committees to oppose the FIRPTA proposal. (Letter to Yellen, July 28 and Industry coalition letter, March 1)

Retroactive Rewrite for REITs

  • Under current law, shareholders of domestically controlled REITs are not subject to FIRPTA, a statutory regime that subjects foreign investors to capital gains tax on their U.S. property investments.
  • The proposed IRS Look-Through Rule would no longer treat a taxpaying U.S. C corporation that has ownership shares in a REIT as a U.S. person—if more than 25% of the owners of the C corporation are foreign. If enacted, the new rule would trigger FIRPTA capital gains, retroactively, on REITS and investment structures used for decades when planning real estate and infrastructure investments.

Congressional CRE Concerns

buildings cityscape
  • Reps. LaHood and Miller asked Treasury and the IRS to reverse course and withdraw the proposed regulation, stating in their letter, “The proposed regulation’s retroactivity is severely burdensome and is already having a chilling effect on foreign investment, which has been a vital contributor to the economic health of the U.S. commercial real estate market. If Treasury decides to move forward with this proposal, it is imperative that the retroactivity provisions are removed.”
  • The letter also noted the proposed change would limit access to capital at a time when the CRE market is showing signs of destabilization. The House taxwriters added, “We fear this proposal could worsen the commercial real estate outlook and harm the many Americans who rely on these crucial investments in their communities.”

Industry Response

Additionally, The Roundtable, Nareit, American Investment Council, Managed Funds Association, and ICSC submitted comments to Treasury in February in opposition to the proposed look-through rule. The organizations wrote that the regulation would “reverse decades of well-settled tax law, severely misconstrue the statute, and contradict Congressional intent.” (Letter to Treasury, Feb. 27)

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President’s Budget Reignites Congressional Debate on Taxing Assets at Death

Capitol at sunset

Congressional policymakers this week focused on two tax policy proposals included in President Biden’s FY2024 budget that could adversely affect family-owned real estate businesses—eliminating the step-up in the basis of assets at death and imposing new restrictions on the use of grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs) and grantor trusts. (Roundtable Weekly, March 10 and Treasury’s “Green Book” description of the President’s revenue proposals, March 9)

Step-up in Basis

  • The White House budget plan once again includes a proposal to eliminate the step-up in basis of real estate and other assets at death.  The budget would replace step-up with a new policy that subjects the decedent’s appreciated assets to capital gains tax at death, in addition to potential estate tax liability.  The tax on unrealized, built-in gains would apply even when the decedent and the heir have no intention or desire to sell the property.
  • On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of Representatives led by Rep. Tracey Mann (R-KS) and Jim Costa (D-CA) introduced House Resolution 237 expressing support for retaining stepped-up basis.  Cosponsored by 63 members of Congress (4 Dem., 58 Rep.), the resolution notes that stepped-up basis is “a crucial component of many family farms and small business succession plans.” (BGov and Rep. Mann news release, March 21)
  • In 2021, a study by EY commissioned by the Family Business Estate Tax Coalition with support from The Real Estate Roundtable found that repealing stepped-up basis and taxing unrealized gains at death would result in reduced job growth, lower wages, and a reduction in GDP of roughly $10 billion per-year.

Grantor Trusts

FY2023 Budget Cover

  • The President’s budget again proposes major tax increases on grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs) and grantor trusts that the administration estimates would raise $65 billion over 10 years.
  • GRATs and grantor trusts are frequently used to facilitate the continuation of family-owned businesses from one generation to the next, particularly in capital-intensive industries like real estate that can involve significantly appreciated assets.
  • On Monday, four Democratic Senators—Elizabeth Warren (MA), Bernie Sanders (VT), Chris Van Hollen (MD), and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)—wrote to Treasury Secretary Yellen urging her to use her regulatory authority to “limit the ultra-wealthy’s abuse of trusts to avoid paying taxes.” The letter includes eight specific recommendations, including the reissuance of family limited partnership regulations that address the use of valuation discounts. (Tax Notes, March 22)
  • In 2017, The Real Estate Roundtable and others commissioned a study by Dr. Robert Shapiro, former Undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs, analyzing the economic impact of a proposed regulation to limit valuation discounts for family businesses. The study concluded the limits could cost 106,000 jobs and $150 billion in GDP over 10 years. The study followed formal Roundtable written comments submitted in 2016—and oral testimony highly critical of the proposal by Roundtable Tax Policy Advisory Committee Member Stef Tucker.

The White House FY2024 budget revenue proposals will be discussed during the Roundtable’s Spring Meeting on April 24-25 in Washington, DC (Roundtable-level members only.)

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Congressional Tax Writers Focus on Policies to Increase Supply of Affordable Housing

NMHC President testifying on Affordable HousingLegislation aimed at increasing the nation’s supply of affordable housing was introduced by Senate and House tax writers this week while the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and National Apartment Association (NAA) offered joint testimony before a March 7 Senate Finance Committee hearing on “Tax Policy’s Role in Increasing Affordable Housing Supply for Working Families.” (NMHC President Sharon Wilson Géno, above and MarketWatch, March 9)

Solutions to Meet the Need 

  • A new report from real estate brokerage Redfin shows that the number of affordable home listings fell 53% from last year—the largest annual drop in Redfin’s records, which date back to 2013. (The Hill and Redfin news release, March 3)
  • The National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates there is a shortage of 7 million affordable and available rental homes in the United States, while a Rosen Consulting Group study reports the underbuilding gap is 5.5 million units.
  • This week’s Senate hearing displayed bipartisan policymaker consensus on the need to increase the supply of affordable housing by expanding the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and other tax incentives. (TaxNotes, March 8 and Congressional Research Service, “An Introduction to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit”)
  • During the hearing, NMHC President Sharon Wilson Géno offered joint testimony that included recommendations to address the affordable housing crisis, including tax policy, regulatory reform, rental assistance, and development incentives. (NHMC News | Video of Géno’s remarks and Written testimony, March 7) 

Senate Bills Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR)

  • Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR), above, noted his support for the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCI), the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act, and the reintroduction of the Decent, Affordable, Safe Housing for All (DASH) Act in his opening comments
  • Wyden’s DASH Act would strengthen the LIHTC and offer a new Middle-Income Housing Tax Credit (MIHTC) that would provide a tax credit to developers who house tenants between 60 and 100% of the area’s median income. (DASH Act Text | Bill Summary | Section-by-section)
  • The AHCI would expand the pool of tax credits allocated to states for new affordable housing, make it easier to combine LIHTC with other sources of capital like private activity bonds, and facilitate LIHTC rehab projects.
  • Wyden added in his opening comments, “Members of Congress also need to keep pushing state and local authorities to cut back on the thicket of zoning rules that get in the way of building the housing Americans need.”
  • The Roundtable has supported these Senate bills since they were introduced last year. Real Estate Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer previously stated, “Overly restrictive land-use and zoning policies, construction cost increases, and labor shortages are deepening our housing challenges, which now extend across the entire country. Government at all levels needs to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.” (Roundtable Weekly, July 22, 2022) 

House Action Capitol bright sky

  • Reintroduction of similar LIHTC legislation in the House is expected by Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Brian Higgins (D-NY). (BGov, March 2)
  • Additionally, House Ways and Means Tax Subcommittee Chair Mike Kelly (R-PA) and committee member Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) on March 1 reintroduced the More Homes on the Market Act, which would double the capital gains exclusion for home sellers to $500,000 for single individuals and $1 million for married couples. (TaxNotes, March 8) 

Despite widespread congressional support for certain affordable housing legislation, prospects for the bills are uncertain until the national debt ceiling issue is addressed—and a tax legislative package is identified that could include such measures. 

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President Biden’s FY2024 Budget Aims to Raise Taxes on Real Estate, Capital Formation, and Investment

FY2023 Budget Cover

The Biden administration yesterday proposed a $6.9 trillion FY2024 budget that includes $3 trillion in deficit reduction and $2.2 trillion in tax increases over the next decade on corporations, high-earning households, and certain business activities, including real estate investment. (White House budget materials and Treasury Department news release)

Blueprint for Negotiations

  • Real Estate Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer said, “Congress has rejected several of these same tax proposals in the past. In particular, Congress has said no to proposals to double the capital gains rate, tax gains reinvested in property of a like-kind, or taxing unrealized gains. We will strongly urge that these counter-productive proposals again be rejected. They have weak policy support, are poorly timed and quite risky given the current uncertain economy.”
  •  Of note for real estate:
    • Capital Gains Rate
      The top, combined tax rate on long-term capital gains would nearly double from 23.8% (20% + 3.8% net investment income tax) to 44.6%. This results from increasing the maximum capital gains rate from 20% to 39.6% and a new proposal to increase the net investment income tax from 3.8% to 5%.
    • Mark-to-Market Tax on Unrealized Capital Gains
      The FY 2024 budget carries over President Biden’s proposal from last year, imposing a retroactive, annual minimum tax of 25% on the income and unrealized gains of taxpayers with wealth (assets minus liabilities) exceeding $100M.
    • Real Estate Professionals
      The budget also carries over a proposal to extend the 3.8% net investment income tax to real estate professionals and other pass-through business owners who are currently exempt from the tax because they are active in their business.

Tax ProposalsChicago cityscape sky view

  • Other real estate-related tax proposals include:
    • Taxing carried interest as ordinary income
    • Limiting the deferral of gain from like-kind exchanges
    • Increasing the top tax rate on ordinary income to $39.6%
    • Ending step-up in basis and taxing unrealized capital gains at death
    • Expanding the limitation on excess business losses for non-corporate taxpayers by converting the limitation from a 1-year deferral to a permanent compartmentalization of active pass-through losses
    • Modifying tax rules for grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs) and grantor trusts
    • Recapturing and taxing real estate depreciation deductions at ordinary income tax rates
  • The budget also devotes $59 billion to provisions aimed at increasing the supply and availability of affordable housing, as well as $10 billion “to incentivize State, local, and regional jurisdictions to make progress in removing barriers to affordable housing developments, such as restrictive zoning.” Tax incentives in the budget include an expansion of the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) and a new tax credit for the development of affordable, owner-occupied housing.

These tax issues and other policies affecting CRE will be discussed during The Roundtable’s Spring Meeting on April 24-25 in Washington.

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Roundtable, Trade Organizations Urge Treasury to Withdraw FIRPTA Regulatory Proposal

The Real Estate Roundtable and 16 other trade organizations weighed in this week against a proposed IRS rule that would expand the reach of the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) of 1980.

Retroactive Rewrite

  • On December 29, Treasury and the IRS released proposed regulations that would redefine what constitutes a domestically controlled REIT and impose capital gains taxes, through FIRPTA, on investment structures that taxpayers have used for decades when planning real estate and infrastructure investments in the United States.
  • For purposes of FIRPTA and the exemption for domestically controlled REITs, the proposed look-through rule would no longer treat a taxpaying U.S. C corporation (that is a shareholder of a REIT) as a U.S. person if more than 25% of the owners of the C corporation are foreign. The result would be that many REITs previously exempt from FIRPTA would be thrust, retroactively, into the discriminatory tax regime.

Industry Response

  • On Monday, The Roundtable, Nareit, American Investment Council, Managed Funds Association, and ICSC submitted detailed comments to Treasury urging withdraw of the proposed look-through rule. The organizations wrote that the rule would “reverse decades of well-settled tax law, severely misconstrue the statute, and contradict Congressional intent,” as well as potentially “impair real estate’s access to foreign capital at a critical economic juncture and undermine foreign investors’ confidence in the stability and predictability of U.S. tax rules.” (Letter to Treasury, Feb. 27)
  • On Wednesday, The Roundtable and 14 other real estate trade organizations wrote to the congressional tax-writing committees asking Members of Congress to encourage the Treasury Department and IRS to withdraw the rule, which could put property value, jobs, and communities at risk unnecessarily. (Letter to congressional tax committees, March 1)
  • Treasury’s regulatory package also included favorable final rules regarding the FIRPTA foreign pension fund exemption and a helpful proposal related to real estate investments and the tax exemption for foreign governments.

The principal drafters of the Treasury comment letter were Roundtable Tax Policy Advisory Committee (TPAC) members David Levy (Weil Gotshal) and David Polster (Skadden), as well as Nickolas Gianou (Skadden). TPAC members also met virtually with Treasury officials on February 15 to discuss the proposed regulation. TPAC will remain active and engaged with the administration on this issue as the process unfolds.

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Treasury Dept. Issues New Rules on Taxation of Foreign Investment in U.S. Real Estate

Foreign Investment in Real Property Act - book

On December 28, Treasury and the IRS released new tax regulations affecting foreign investment in U.S. real estate. 

FIRPTA

  • Among the changes, a proposed rule would repeal a long-standing private letter ruling that foreign investors have relied on when structuring inbound investments. 
  • Under current law, shareholders of domestically controlled REITs are not subject to the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA)—a statutory regime that subjects foreign investors to capital gains tax on their U.S. property investments. 
  • The proposal, if finalized, would expand the reach of FIRPTA by denying a REIT’s status as domestically controlled if a U.S. corporate shareholder of the REIT is foreign-owned. In other words, the rule would look through a domestic C corporation that owns the REIT, even if the C corporation is a U.S. taxpayer that pays U.S. income tax. 
  • The proposed regulation surprised foreign investors and real estate fund managers who have relied on a 2009 IRS private lettering rule, which held that a domestic C corporation that owns shares in a REIT is a U.S. owner for purposes of determining whether the REIT is domestically controlled. 
  • The proposed rule appears to conflict with policies underlying FIRPTA-related ownership attribution changes enacted in the 2015 PATH Act.  As a practical matter, the tax consequences of the proposal are retroactive because they would apply to existing investments made years ago. (Weil Tax Alert and Skadden Insights)

Additional Provisions & Regulations

Treasury Department

  • Other provisions in the proposed regulations are more favorable. For example, they include rules that allow a sovereign wealth fund to preserve the tax exemption applicable to foreign governments if the fund has only a minority, non-controlling interest in a U.S. real estate business. 
  • Simultaneously, Treasury also released final regulations last month related to the FIRPTA exemption for foreign pension funds, which the Roundtable worked to enact in 2015. The final regulations are largely positive and should facilitate even greater investment in U.S. real estate by qualified foreign pension funds. 

The Real Estate Roundtable’s Tax Policy Advisory Committee (TPAC) has created a working group to develop formal comments and respond to the recent Treasury releases.

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Senate to Consider Stopgap Funding Bill as Parties Signal Contrasting Tax Agendas After Mid-Term Elections

US Capitol

The end of the government’s fiscal year is only two weeks away as congressional leaders continue to work on the scope of a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would extend federal funding into mid-December. 

CR Scope 

  • The Senate will move first to determine if other bills will be attached to the stopgap—the final legislative package before November’s mid-term elections. (House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) website, Sept. 12)
  • The process of moving the funding package has been complicated by a deal reached last month between Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to consider permitting rules for energy pipelines and exports. The agreement was reached to secure Manchin’s support for the Inflation Reduction Act. (Roundtable Weekly, Aug. 12 and Manchin’s Outline of Energy Permitting Provisions)
  • Sens. Schumer and Manchin are working to gather support for permitting legislation, which would require 60 votes to pass the Senate. In the House, a coalition of 77 Democrats recently expressed their disapproval of linking a permitting reform bill to the “must-pass” CR. (Reuters and The Hill, Sept. 13)
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) addressed the possibility of a permit bill yesterday. “We have agreed to bring up a vote, yes. We never agreed on how it would be brought up, whether it be on the CR, or independently or part of something else. We’ll just wait & see what the Senate does,” Pelosi said. (E&E News, Sept. 15)
  • A CR that expires in December could be followed by consideration of a FY2023 “omni” spending package —with possible extensions of certain tax provisions—during a lame-duck session. 

Post-Election Tax Agendas 

Biden-Harris Economic Blueprint cover

  • House Republicans plan to unveil an outline of their “Commitment to America” platform on September 23 in anticipation of the November 8 midterm elections. (Tax Notes, Sept. 15)
  • Rep. French Hill (R-AR), a member of the GOP Jobs and the Economy task force, told Tax Notes there will be a “skinny version” of the House GOP Platform and a less widely circulated “deep blueprint for legislative work to lay out that first year of Congress.”
  • Extending portions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act past their December 31, 2025 expiration will be at the core of the the House Republican tax plan— including 2017’s tax reductions for individuals, the 20 percent rate cut on pass-through income, and bonus depreciation. (Tax Notes, Sept. 15)
  • The White House released its own economic blueprint last week, reciting recent accomplishments and signaling tax measures it plans to pursue, including tax increases on capital gains, carried interest, and the step-up in basis of assets at death, as well as a new minimum tax on billionaires’ wealth. (White House news release and blueprint, Sept. 9)
  • Meanwhile, the Biden administration announced plans on Wednesday to distribute $900 million throughout the country to build electric vehicle infrastructure across 53,000 miles of the national highway system—funding that is part of last year’s bipartisan infrastructure law. (PoliticoPro, Sept. 14)
  • Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said, “With the first set of approvals we are announcing today, 35 states across the country—with Democratic and Republican governors—will be moving forward to use these funds to install EV chargers at regular, reliable intervals along their highways.” (Approvals and each state’s deployment plan for 2022

The CR, midterm elections, and the legislative outlook for the lame-duck session will be among the topics of discussion during The Roundtable’s Fall Meeting on Sept. 20-21 in Washington. 

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Sens. Schumer and Manchin Agree on Reconciliation Bill With Carried Interest and Energy Efficiency Provisions

Sens. Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer

An unexpected agreement announced Wednesday night between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), above right, and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), left, on a $790 billion reconciliation proposal includes $14 billion in increased taxes on carried interest and a 15% corporate minimum tax—in addition to $369 billion in climate spending that affects “clean energy” measures important to commercial real estate.

Senate Democrats are hoping to pass some version of the Schumer-Manchin language on a party-line vote before the upper chamber begins its summer recess on Aug. 8. (Senate Democrats’ joint statement and one-page bill summary, July 27 | Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, July 28)

Legislative Details

Reconciliation Bill - Roundtable Town Hall

  • Today, The Real Estate Roundtable held an all-member virtual town hall to discuss major provisions within the 725-page Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022. The Roundtable is working with its policy advisory committees and national real estate organization partners to assess how details in the bill language could impact CRE.
     
  • Real Estate Roundtable President Jeffrey DeBoer stated, “The Roundtable is engaged with policymakers and Capitol Hill staff on the potential impact of the proposed bill on real estate capital formation, economic growth, clean energy investments, and affordable housing development. The industry is working together to mitigate any negative consequences for CRE before policymakers hold an eventual vote on a final bill.”

Taxes & Clean Energy

Capitol side bright

  • The IRA’s largest tax increase is a new 15% corporate minimum tax on businesses with profits over $1B whose reported book income exceeds reported taxable income. The measure is estimated to raise $313B. The package also includes protections that would preserve the value of the low-income housing tax credit for investors (typically large banks) that use the credit to reduce their effective tax rate.
  • The smallest tax increase would raise $14B in revenue by extending the capital gains holding period requirement for carried interest from 3 years to 5 years, although there is an exemption for real estate. Additionally, there are technical reforms to the holding period rules for measuring the 3- or 5-year holding period. (Deloitte Tax News & Views, July 29)
  • The carried interest holding period change includes a real estate exception for gain associated with assets used in a real property trade or business. The language in the IRA on carried interest is identical to text in the House Ways and Means Committee’s previous reconciliation bill last year—language that was dropped from the version that passed the full House. (Roundtable Weekly, Sept. 17, 2021)
  • The Schumer-Manchin agreement also proposes significant reforms to Section 179D—the tax code’s main provision to incentivize energy efficient commercial buildings. The 179D reforms are geared to encourage more existing building “retrofits” although maximum incentives amounts depend on compliance with heightened wage and labor standards.
  • Tax incentives are also included to encourage investments in solar panels, energy storage, and EV charging stations. (See Summary of the bill’s Energy Security and Climate Change Investments)

Timeline

DC night iconic buildings moon

  • There are several challenges to the Senate Democrats’ timeline for passage of the bill in early August. 
  • Senate Democrats need all 50 members of their caucus present for an eventual budget reconciliation vote, along with Vice President Kamala Harris to break an anticipated tie with 50 Republicans. Yet Covid-19 infections have caused recent absences. (The Hill, July 28) 
  • The bill was sent to Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough to see if it conforms with reconciliation budget rules, a process that will spill over into next week. (BGov, July 29)
  • Arizona Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema is a key centrist vote, considering she has long opposed changes to the taxation of carried interest. Sinema’s spokesperson Hannah Hurley said yesterday that the Senator is “reviewing the text and will need to review what comes out of the parliamentarian process.” (BGov, July 29) 

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Sen. Manchin Narrows Scope of Possible Reconciliation Bill While Waiting for More Inflation Data

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), a key centrist in Democrats’ ongoing efforts to pass a party-line budget reconciliation bill, said this week he would not move forward on an economic package that contains climate provisions or tax increases, upending weeks of negotiations with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Manchin, above, added he would support a limited measure this month aimed at reducing pharmaceutical prices and extending federal subsidies for buying health care coverage. (The Washington Post, July 14, Bloomberg, July 15 and Roundtable Weekly, June 17)

Inflation & Timelines

  • Manchin explained his position during a West Virginia MetroNews interview this morning: “I said, Chuck [Schumer], until we see the July inflation figures, until we see the July Federal Reserve rates, interest rates, then let’s wait until that comes out so we know that we were going down the path that won’t be inflammatory to add more to inflation. Inflation is absolutely killing many, many people.” (Full interview and The Hill, July 15)
  • The July Consumer Price Index is scheduled for release Aug. 10, after surging to an annual inflation rate of 9.1% in June. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, July 13)
  • Democrats are pushing to pass a bill before the Congressional recess begins on Aug. 8. If any agreement is reached, a bill would have to be drafted, scored, and debated, which could take several weeks as the midterm elections loom. The underlying budget reconciliation instructions authorizing a filibuster-proof bill do not expire until September 30. (The Washington Post, July 15)
  • The Roundtable on July 13 commented on the evolving reconciliation talks on its Twitter feed, “As policy negotiations continue, we are working to ensure that any scaled-back bill doesn’t include anti-growth, anti-real estate tax hikes such as repeal of like-kind exchanges; increased capital gain tax rates; or revisions to taxation of pass-through entities.”

The only option for Democrats to pass a reconciliation bill this month may be reduced to a limited version focused on prescription drug pricing and a two-year extension of Affordable Care Act funding to prevent major insurance premium hikes. The prescription drug legislation should raise more than sufficient revenue ($288 billion) to pay for a temporary extension of the health care insurance subsidies. (CNBC, July 15)

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