The Hardwood Federation produces a “D.C. Cheat Sheet” newsletter to keep the industry up-to-date on the latest news from Washington D.C. Check out the November 9th edition below and sign up to receive your copy.
Spending Bills Promote Biomass as Carbon Neutral
On November 3, the House passed Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 Interior and Environment appropriations legislation (H.R. 4821), a bill that includes important language classifying biomass as carbon neutral across federal agencies. Prior to leaving town for the August recess, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its version of the FY 2024 Interior-Environment spending bill with the same language that is in the House-passed version. Although the two bills will likely experience rocky negotiations to hammer out a compromise bill, centered on the House version which includes a 39percent reduction in EPA’s budget that will not pass the Senate, we are optimistic that the biomass provision will become law, delivering a win for industry.
Manufacturers Lay Out Tax Priorities
On November 2, the Hardwood Federation joined the National Association of Manufacturers and allies in a letter to Capitol Hill urging action on the package of business tax benefit extensions that is currently pending on the House floor. The package—for which HF is also advocating—would extend through 2025 the 100 percent bonus depreciation benefit which began ratcheting down this year. It would also retroactively extend the research and development tax credit which phased out in 2022 and restore more generous interest deductibility provisions (interest deductions based on Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) instead of the current EBIT standard)). Following positive statements from House tax writers this week and election of a new Speaker of the House, we are hopeful that Congress will act on this package by year’s end.
Lawmakers Scramble to Fund Government, Expired Farm Bill
With government funding due to expire on November 17, bipartisan Senate leaders are weighing the possibility of combining all nine remaining spending bills for FY 2024 into a single package, including the Interior-Environment vehicle for industry’s biomass provision. This could help expedite discussions on the parameters of a Continuing Resolution (CR), the duration of which remains a moving target. As lawmakers discuss more paths forward for federal funding and House GOP members seek to begin Rep. Johnson’s (R-LA) Speakership on a strong note, the odds of a government shutdown next week appear to diminish. In the event lawmakers move forward with another CR, farm bill leaders may attempt to use it as a vehicle to attach extension of funding for farm bill programs that expired on October 1. Although House leaders, including Speaker Johnson (R-LA) and House Ag Chair GT Thompson (R-PA) remain publicly committed to passing a farm bill in the House before the end of the year, there is no chance that a final, negotiated package with the Senate can cross the finish line until sometime in 2024.
Source: Hardwood Federation