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October 20, 2023

What to expect in Washington (October 20)

The House may end a third workweek without a Speaker. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is continuing to pursue his candidacy for the House Speakership, possibly into the weekend, without any indications of whether he will gain the requisite support, after votes October 17 and 18 fell short (he won 200 votes, then 199 votes, respectively, with 217 required). A third vote on Jordan's candidacy for speaker is expected today. Efforts to vote on granting Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) additional powers as acting speaker stalled October 19 amid further disagreement within the Republican conference. Without a Speaker, the House can't advance legislation, including any approach to extending government funding and other programs beyond the November 17 expiration.

Congress will also be asked by the White House to pass two supplemental funding packages, for domestic priorities and national security. President Biden made the case for the latter package in an address last night, saying, "tomorrow, I'm going to send to Congress an urgent budget request to fund America's national security needs." The New York Times reported, "The president delivered the speech as his administration braces for opposition to his request for $74 billion in assistance for the two countries. The money would pay for weapons and other military equipment as Israel responds to the Oct. 7 attacks … and Ukraine fights on in its 600-day war."

Punchbowl reported October 19, "The White House is expected to roll out a domestic-focused supplemental funding package as soon as next week, centering on disaster relief, childcare and broadband. This will be separate from the national-security supplemental the Biden administration is expected to announce on Friday morning. This funding request will cover Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan and the U.S.-Mexico border."

Taiwan tax — The U.S.-Taiwan Expedited Double Tax Relief Act that was passed unanimously by the Senate Finance Committee in September was formally introduced in the Senate (S. 3084) October 19 by Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) and in the House (H.R. 5988) by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) and Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA). The updated text reflects the Finance Committee's amendment to prevent double taxation on entertainment income and athletic activities, and some other changes. Politico reported this morning, "The goal, as it has seemed for a while, is for that legislation to pass as part of a year-end tax package, as one Finance aide told Morning Tax."

Energy tax — Treasury, IRS, and the Department of Energy announced October 19 that applications for the Low-Income Communities Bonus Credit program under Section 48(e) of the Internal Revenue Code are now being accepted.

An EY Tax Alert, "IRS releases details on claiming IRC Section 45L credit for new energy-efficient homes," is available here.

Health — On October 18, the Senate Budget Committee held a hearing, "Improving Care, Lowering Costs: Achieving Health Care Efficiency." During the hearing, lawmakers heard from a panel of experts representing academia, physicians and accountable care organizations, and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Each expert spoke critically about rising health care costs and offered policy solutions they believed could curtail the growth, such as reducing administrative burdens and spending, accelerating the transition to value-based care, and other policy solutions to increase transparency in health care. Several experts, and lawmakers, spoke about the role of hospital and physician services payments in rising health care costs and ways to address drivers of physician price, such as expanding site-neutral payment reform and increasing antitrust oversight.

Next week — The House Ways & Means Committee has announced the following hearings for next week:

  • Work & Welfare Subcommittee hearing on "Measuring Poverty: How the Biden Administration Plans to Redraw the Poverty Line and Rob Resources from Rural America" on Tuesday, October 24 (at 2 p.m.)
  • full Committee hearing on education tax policy, likely to have a focus, at least in part, on college/university issues, on Wednesday, October 25 (at 10 a.m.)
  • Social Security Subcommittee hearing on improving the disability adjudication process on Thursday, October 26 (at 9 a.m.)

The Senate stands adjourned until Monday, October 23, when it will convene for a pro forma session only. A vote has been set for 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday, October 24, on the nomination of Michael Whitaker to be Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration. Whitaker received a unanimous vote in the Senate Commerce Committee Wednesday and, as the Washington Post reported, enjoys strong support.

The Senate Finance Committee is holding a hearing, "Exploring Paid Leave: Policy, Practice, and Impact on the Workforce," on Wednesday, October 25 (at 10 a.m.).

Also next week, on October 26, the OECD will hold a technical webinar on the Multilateral Convention to Implement Amount A of Pillar One.

Today (October 20) is the EY Webcast, "Tax in a time of transition: legislative, economic, regulatory and IRS developments." Register here.


Contact Information
For additional information concerning this Alert, please contact:
Washington Council Ernst & Young
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