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Chairman Wyden Amendment Includes EXPIRE Act in Senate Highway Bill

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

With the support of Republican ranking member, Orin Hatch of Utah, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon has presented an amendment to included the EXPIRE Act in the Senate’s highway bill.  The EXPIRE Act would renew the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) and dozens of other tax extenders through 2015.

Paul Suplizio of the WOTC Coalition reports this morning that the Senate Finance Committee has adjourned for the Independence Day recess without a vote on the bill.

Between now and when the Senate reconvenes after July 7th, Senators Wyden and Hatch will be seeking a bipartisan agreement on the bill.  According to Mr. Suplizio, the probability is high that EXPIRE will be a part of the bill when it comes before the Senate.

This is not a reason, however, for WOTC supporters to relax.  It remains important to win support from additional Republican senators, whose leadership could still oppose including the extenders in the final bill to be sent to the House of Representatives.

The following is published here with permission.

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From: “Paul Suplizio” <wotc@cox.net>
Date: Thu, June 26, 2014 8:54 am
Subject: Finance Committee Adjourns Highway Markup Without Votes On Any Amendments

June 26, 2014

The Finance Committee has adjourned markup of the Highway bill, subject to call of the chair.

The Committee won’t meet again until after July 7—intervening time will be used by Senator Wyden and Senator Hatch to try to reach bi-partisan agreement on a final measure.

Chairman Wyden said he’s in touch with Ways and Means Chairman Camp on what the House approach will be on any measure sent to them by the Senate.

In view of Senate Democrats announcing their intention via the Wyden Amendment to include EXPIRE in the Highway bill, the odds are high EXPIRE will be in the bill that comes before the Senate.

We will have to continue working hard to win the support of Republican senators because Senator McConnell could make excluding the extenders a condition for his support of the bill. Senator McConnell has spoken in favor of the extenders, but we cannot take for granted what will come out of negotiations between himself and Senator Reid on the bill they’ll send to the House.

PAUL E. SUPLIZIO
President, WOTC Coalition

 

Urgent Chance THIS WEEK to Include WOTC in Senate Highways Bill Extension

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

The following update from Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Coalition, outlines a very time-limited potential opportunity to get WOTC back on track for 2014.  To have any impact, WOTC supports will need to act promptly.  Congress will wrap up its business and leave town by the end of this week for the Independence Day recess.

The following is published here with permission.

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Subject: Opportunity Opens This Week For WOTC Extension On Highway Bill
From: “Paul Suplizio” <wotc@cox.net>
Date: Mon, June 23, 2014 4:56 am

June 23, 2014

An opportunity has arisen and if we swing into action and go all-out this week to capitalize on it, we might just see WOTC extended till the end of the year.

The opportunity arises in the Senate Finance Committee which must mark up a bill to reauthorize the almost empty Highway Trust Fund from which Federal capital expenditures for roads and bridges are made.

The fund needs $90 billion over ten years, but $8 billion will cover it for the rest of the year. A bill has to be passed in July because the fund runs dry in August. Because nobody can see a way to produce $90 billion in revenue to pass a long-term reauthorization, Senator Wyden and Senator Hatch are almost certain to write a short-term extension till year-end—Hatch says he’s sure it will be a short-term extension.

Wyden and Hatch are also aware that many senators on the Finance Committee are looking at this bill as a vehicle for their renewing their favorite tax extender for the year—and it’s possible Wyden and Hatch would allow a limited number of extenders to ride along on the Highway bill if there were a clamor for this or that extender by Finance Committee members when the committee marks up the bill.

Senator Wyden has been planning to call a markup of the Highway Trust Fund measure for this week because Congress will leave this Thursday or Friday for the July 4th recess and not return until July 7th. We aren’t sure whether he’ll be able to do it—the bill is linked to a long-range highway bill in the Energy and Commerce Committee that could lead to snags postponing markup until after the recess.

But we must assume there will be a markup Wednesday or Thursday, so we have very little time. Fortunately we are well positioned with all of us linked to Finance Committee senators and their legislative aides since our campaign last December. Now we have to swing into action contacting these same Finance Committee senators, Democrats and Republicans, urging them to include a year-long extension of WOTC (for 2014) in the Highway Trust Fund bill.

We’ve already laid the groundwork for you with a letter that was faxed to Senator Reid and Senator McConnell and every Finance Committee senator early this morning. The letter is one way to lay out our case for giving WOTC high priority for attachment to the Highway bill. This is one approach, you may bring in other arguments. In your contacts, be sure to start by underlining how you as a business are using WOTC successfully to hire eligible workers in the senator’s state, or how you as a service organization (veterans, disability, minority, community, etc) are using WOTC to place people you serve into private sector jobs in the senator’s state (our letter doesn’t include this point).

Allowing WOTC to remain expired for this year would not only cost WOTC workers more than 300,000 jobs, but will cost our WOTC employers who’ve been continuing to hire since January 1st, but cannot get their certifications approved till WOTC is renewed, around $1.7 billion dollars in financial liquidity that could have been invested in their business this year rather than next year or later.

WOTC has a strong case for high priority consideration in the Highway bill. The rest is up to us. Most of us haven’t talked to senators about the Highway bill, so this is a good time to reach out anew about the opportunity this bill presents to get something done and press the idea that, since it’s a short term vehicle covering this year, it would be a suitable vehicle for an extender like WOTC, whose continued expiration imposes costs in lost hires to the people it’s meant to serve, as well as costs in delayed tax savings which could have been invested in states and communities our employers serve.

Remember, we want to take this message to members of the Senate Finance Committee, Democrats and Republicans, and to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell via whatever routes you have available. It’s time to pull out all stops!

We will keep you informed. Please contact me if you have any questions, 703-587-4566.

PAUL E. SUPLIZIO
President, WOTC Coalition

Struggle for 2-year Tax Extenders Bill Continues in US Senate

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

As a potential Senate vote on the EXPIRE Act looms, the WOTC Coalition’s Paul Suplizio urges WOTC proponents to renew their contacts with Republican Senators.

“We believe several Senate Republicans who support EXPIRE will break with their leader and vote for cloture when another vote is taken.”

Those considered most likely to vote for cloture (and who therefore should receive particular attention from WOTC supporters) include the following Republican Senators.

  • Pat Roberts (Kansas),
  • Rob Portman (Ohio),
  • Jerry Moran (Kansas),
  • Susan M. Collins (Maine),
  • Mark Kirk (Illinois),
  • Chuck Grassley (Iowa), and
  • Kelly Ayotte (New Hampshire)

If you or your clients are NOT doing business in states represented by these Senators, then by all means still reach out to your own Republican Senators. Urge them to vote for cloture when the vote is taken on the EXPIRE Act.

 

The following is published here with permission.

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Subject: EXPIRE Bill Still High Priority For Reid, Wyden
From: “Paul Suplizio”
Date: Tue, June 03, 2014 1:53 pm

June 3, 2014

We are bending every effort to break the deadlock over amendments to the EXPIRE bill and get it passed by the Senate and sent to the House for final passage without further delay.

To this end, we are urging Senator Reid to bring EXPIRE to the Senate again for another vote as soon as possible. We do this because Senator Reid and Senator Wyden have made crystal clear what they will accept by way of amendments—their only requirement is for amendments to be germane to the bill. It’s now up to the opposition to decide whether to accept these terms or keep the bill bottled up.

Faced with this choice, we believe several Senate Republicans who support EXPIRE will break with their leader and vote for cloture when another vote is taken.

The odds are strong that, on another vote, Republican Senators Roberts, Portman, Moran, Collins, Kirk, Grassley, Ayotte, and others will vote to advance the bill—more than enough to add to 55 Democrats and Independents to reach the 60 votes required to end debate and move to final passage.

It’s important for everyone to re-connect with the above-named senators and other Republicans from your state, or states where you have operations, urging them to vote for the EXPIRE bill when the Majority Leader brings it before the Senate again. Stay in touch with the tax legislative assistants of these senators to get a reading on whether they’re willing to vote for EXPIRE when it’s brought up again and open to germane amendments. Let us know any objections you may hear—we may be able to help resolve them.

One big obstacle to passage of EXPIRE has been removed—it’s now clear there’s no stomach in either Senate or House for requiring a revenue offset to the $80 billion cost of a two-year retroactive extension for WOTC and other extenders. The House may make changes to the Senate bill, but raising revenue to offset the cost won’t be one of them.

Any changes the House makes to any of the extenders are likely to be quickly resolved with the Senate—it shouldn’t slow final passage. Our biggest job is getting the bill un-snared in the Senate.

PAUL E. SUPLIZIO
President, WOTC Coalition

Tax Extenders Update – Urgent Need for Action to Support WOTC in US House

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

On Monday, the EXPIRE Act of 2014 was introduced to the Senate and placed on the Senate Calendar.  Find detailed information at Congress.gov here.

The EXPIRE Act proposes to extend WOTC through 2015 and support for the bill in the Senate is strong; HOWEVER, proponents of the Work Opportunity Credit face a serious challenge in the House where the Ways and Means Committee is now taking up individual tax extender programs for evaluation.  Among committee members, Republican support for extending WOTC is weak.

Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Coalition, issued an urgent call to action this week.  The following is published here with permission.

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From: “Paul Suplizio” <wotc@cox.net>
Date: Mon, April 28, 2014 9:22 am
Subject: Winning Ways And Means Republicans Imperative While Senate Debates Extenders Bill

April 28, 2014

Congress returns today and at 2:00 PM Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may say when the Senate Finance Committee’s bill, “Expiring Provisions Improvement, Reform, and Efficiency Act (EXPIRE Act)” will come to the floor. The bill includes a two-year retroactive extension of WOTC and empowerment zones, and adds the long-term unemployed as a new WOTC target group. The extension covers workers hired between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2015.

The Senate bill will likely be brought up as an amendment to a House bill, since revenue measures must originate in the House; H.R. 2575 has been cleared for this purpose. H.R. 2575, “Save American Workers Act,” changes the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) to make 40 hours per week the requirement for a full-time worker. It’s likely this provision will not be part of the amended bill Senator Reid brings to the floor.

Tomorrow, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp continues his plan for a hearing on tax extender, followed by markup and vote on a separate bill for each extender. Go to www.waysandmeans.house.gov and, under “Committee Schedule” click on April 29. You will note the following seven bills to be voted on:

  • H.R. 4058, To prevent and address sex trafficking of youth In foster care;
  • H.R. 4429, To permanently extend the Subpart F exemption for active financing income;
  • H.R. 4438, To simplify and make permanent the research credit;
  • H.R. 4453, To make permanent the reduced recognition period for built-in gains of S corporations;
  • H.R. 4454, To make permanent certain rules regarding basis adjustments to stock of S corporations making charitable contributions of property;
  • H.R. 4457, To permanently extend increased expensing limitations, and for other purposes;
  • H.R. 4464, To make permanent the look-through treatment of payments between related controlled foreign corporations.

If these bills clear Ways and Means with Republicans voting in favor, smooth sailing to a House vote making them a permanent part of the tax code will follow. If they pass Ways and Means mainly with Democratic votes plus a few Republicans, the odds are against their even getting a vote in the House.

We’ve underscored the need to get Republican congressmen on Ways and Means into WOTC’s corner for this decisive vote. So much at stake means having to go the extra mile–the President or CEO of every organization or business committed to WOTC must call and meet with Republican congressmen on Ways and Means in states where you have operations. This cannot be left to Washington alone.

So far, the hearing and markup for WOTC hasn’t been scheduled so we still have time to get this done—all that’s required is for everyone to do their part and reach out to these key Republican congressmen who will decide WOTC’s future.

We’re already in touch with WOTC supporters targeting Ways and Means Republicans from California, Ohio, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Washington, Georgia, Florida, Minnesota, Arkansas, and Kansas. We still need supporters in Texas, Louisiana, and Tennessee to come forward. Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, and other states are being covered by our colleague, National Employment Opportunities Network (NEON).

If you’re ready to help and uncertain of what to do, contact us by return e-mail or phone 703-587-4566.

Here again are Ways and Means Republicans we are targeting:

Sam Johnson (TX)
Kevin Brady (TX)
Kenny Marchant (TX)
Pat Tiberi (OH)
James B. Renacci (OH)
Jim Gerlach (PA)
Mike Kelly (PA)
Paul Ryan (WI)
Devin Nunes (CA)
Dave Reichert (WA)
Charles Boustany, Jr (LA)
Peter Roskam (IL)
Tom Price (GA)
Vern Buchanan (FL)
Adrian Smith (NE)
Erik Paulsen (MN)
Diane Black (TN)
Tom Reed (NY)
Todd Young (IN)
Tim Griffin (AR)

Note: Aaron Schock of IL and Lynn Jenkins of KS are already WOTC supporters and are not to be lobbied. Chairman Dave Camp of MI is opposed to permanent WOTC but might vote for a short-term extension.

PAUL E. SUPLIZIO
President, WOTC Coalition

Tax Extenders Bill Survives Committee – Empowerment Zones and New Target Group Added!

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Coalition gave us an e-mail play-by-play this morning as the Senate Finance Committee considered amendments to the EXPIRE Act.

First, according to the Committee’s press release, the Senate Finance Committee approved the EXPIRE Act with a strong bipartisan vote.

Also, empowerment-zone residency was added back to WOTC’s designated-community resident target group.   It is not yet clear to me if the provision also extends the empowerment-zone program itself.

[05/16/2014: Update: The most recent version of this bill clearly DOES renew and extend the Empowerment Zone program.]

Lastly, the Committee approved an amendment offered by Senators Rob Portman, Ben Cardin and Mark Warner adding a brand new WOTC target group for the long-term unemployed.

 

Draft Senate Tax Extenders Bill Published Today – WOTC Yes, Empowerment Zones No

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

The markup of the Senate Finance Committee’s tax extenders bill, which was scheduled for Wednesday, has been postponed until Thursday. The bill’s formal name is the “Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Act.

The Chairman’s Mark was published today and is available on the Senate Finance Committee’s website.  It will be considered by the full Committee on Thursday, amendments offered and approved, etc. It will then pass before the entire Senate for a vote.

The EXPIRE Act was presented this morning as a bi-partisan offer by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and the committee’s Ranking Minority Member Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

The bill includes a retroactive 2-year extension of WOTC, mostly intact. The Empowerment Zone Employment Credit, however, is missing from the bill. If this omission makes it through Thursday’s markup, it will also mean that empowerment zone residents will no longer be recognized as designated community members for purposes of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC).

Here is the Senate Finance Committee’s Press Release.

Here is a summary of the bill and here is the proposal in its entirety.

The bill gives each of the following employment based tax credits a 2-year extension:

  • Indian employment tax credit
  • Employer wage credit for activated military reservists
  • Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Also of interest to many WOTC Planet readers, the Research and experimentation tax credit (aka R&D) also has a 2-year extension.

Action Required

Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Coalition recognized the delay as an opportunity for WOTC proponents to reach out to Republican committee members and to request their support for the bill in markup.

If a majority of Finance Committee Republicans join in approving the bill Thursday, it will significantly increase the odds of passing the Senate. Please contact your Committee Republican senators, other than Senator Hatch, and urge them to vote to approve the EXPIRE Act when it comes before the Finance Committee on Thursday.

 

 

WOTC and other Tax Extenders Are Facing an Imminent Threat

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Senate and House committee votes that may determine the future of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) are approaching in the US Congress. On Tuesday (tomorrow) the Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a hearing to markup a tax-extenders bill. The Committee will then vote to recommend the bill on Wednesday, April 2nd.

While WOTC is almost assured to be included in the Senate’s extender bill, it is not immune to amendments. WOTC proponents hope to stave off any detrimental changes, keeping the program intact until it can be revisited later in the context of comprehensive tax reform.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (Democrat from Oregon), stated on Thursday,

I am hopeful we can reach a bipartisan agreement on extenders in the days ahead,” Wyden said in a statement. “This means jobs and much-needed certainty for families and businesses alike. But let me be clear – I’m determined that this is the last time we do extenders and would like to leverage this last extension to reform the broken tax code.

The immediate outlook for WOTC in the US House of Representatives, however, is somewhat bleak. Rather than considering a comprehensive extenders bill, the House Ways and Means Committee has laid out a schedule to individually review each tax-extender, including WOTC. Those the Committee likes will be recommended for permanent status. All others are headed for the trash heap.

Obviously, this is at odds with the Senate Finance Committee’s plan for a tax-extenders bill. But worse than that, Representative David Camp, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is on record opposing an extension of WOTC. It’s quite possible that WOTC could be defeated in the House during this, the very first round of the House’s tax-reform process.

Last week, Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Coalition, painted the situation in this way:

The situation is critical because Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp is against continuing WOTC—he is going to urge his Committee to vote against the motion to make WOTC permanent. The Chairman has called for another hearing on WOTC and says he is willing to listen—and he has listened. Several times over the past two years our delegations have met with Chairman Camp and each time his opposition to WOTC has grown stronger.

In the coming vote, WOTC Coalition will be pushing against the committee chairman, and the committee chairman will be holding the cards. The power of every committee chairman lies in getting his members to vote with him. Members sympathetic to WOTC won’t want to cross their chairman who is the “go to” person when they need something. 

How then can we win the vote in Ways and Means? We laid out our lobbying plan two years ago—we must assure the votes of all 16 Democrats on the Committee, and at the same time get 4 Republicans to cross party lines and vote for WOTC against the chairman. That will provide a majority of 20, just enough to carry the motion to make WOTC permanent.

If you support WOTC, it’s time to contact each Republican Member of the House Ways and Means Committee from your state and each state where you do business.  Help your clients to do the same.

Here is a list of the Republican members.   The WOTC Coalition recommends that you do not lobby Aaron Schock of Illinois or Lynn Jenkins of Kansas.  Both of these gentlemen already support continuing WOTC.

Dave Camp, MI
Sam Johnson, TX
Kevin Brady, TX
Paul D. Ryan, WI
Devin Nunes, CA
Pat Tiberi, OH
Dave Reichert, WA
Charles Boustany, Jr, LA
Peter Roskam, IL
Jim Gerlach, PA
Tom Price, GA
Vern Buchanan, FL
Adrian Smith, NE
Aaron Schock, IL**
Lynn Jenkins, KS**
Erik Paulsen, MN
Kenny Marchant, TX
Diane Black, TN
Tom Reed, NY
Todd Young, IN
Mike Kelly, PA
Tim Griffin, AR
James B. Renacci, OH

 

Unique Opportunity for WOTC Supporters in Oregon

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Now that Senator Ron Wydon (Dem of Oregon) has taken his new post as Chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, WOTC proponents in Oregon have a unique and timely opportunity.

Senator Wydon is known for his regular town-hall meetings and his openness to constituents throughout the State of Oregon. According to the Senator’s website, he has already held more than 600 such meetings.

WOTC supporters in Oregon should take any opportunity to attend Senator Wydon’s town hall and to ask him to see that WOTC is renewed. Remember, you won’t just be speaking with an Oregon Senator, respectable as that may be.  You will be speaking with the new Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

To help get the most from your face time with the Senator, Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Coalition, has offered to provide industry-specific WOTC Fact Sheets to anyone meeting with Senator Wydon.

We can arm you with Fact Sheets and Talking Points, geared to the target group or industry you represent, to make this face-to-face contact with Senator Wyden truly effective.

Contact us now [at wotc@cox.net] and we’ll tell you where and when the next Town Hall Meetings in Oregon will occur.

Remember, when the Senate adjourns this week, it won’t return till the 24th, so there’s a good chance Senator Wyden will be in Oregon during the break. He needs to know that people in Oregon feel WOTC is important and take its renewal seriously.

 

Update: I spoke with Senator Wydon’s office in Salem, Oregon this afternoon. According to that office, there are no town-hall meetings currently on the Senator’s schedule. However, the point was emphasized that the Senator rarely schedules town-hall meetings very far in advance and that we should continue to check.

Of course, while the Senator is in Oregon, you may have an opportunity to meet with him or his staff next week at one of his six Oregon office locations.  This is your opportunity!  Check below and give the closest office a call.

 

Portland
911 NE 11th Ave., Suite 630
Portland, OR, 97232
tel (503) 326-7525

Salem
707 13th St., SE Suite 285
Salem, OR, 97301
tel (503) 589-4555

Eugene
405 East 8th Ave., Suite 2020
Eugene, OR, 97401
tel (541) 431-0229

Medford
Federal Courthouse
310 West 6th St., Room 118
Medford, OR, 97501
tel (541) 858-5122

Bend
The Jamison Building
131 NW Hawthorne Ave., Suite 107
Bend, OR, 97701
tel (541) 330-9142

La Grande
SAC Annex Building
105 Fir St,. Suite 201
La Grande, OR, 97850
tel (541) 962-7691

Tax Extenders a Top Priority for New Chairman of U.S. Senate Finance Committee

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Senator Ron Wydon (Dem of Oregon) took over this week as the new Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Senator Wydon replaces Senator Max Baucus, who was recently appointed as the United States Ambassador to Japan. Like Senator Baucus, Wydon favors an early passage of tax extenders, including WOTC.

By mid January, Senator Wydon had committed to make passage of tax extenders an early priority for 2014. Roll Call reported on January 16th

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said that renewing more than 50 tax breaks, known as tax extenders, that expired at the end of the year will be a top priority for Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., when he gets the Finance Committee gavel in the coming weeks.

“I talked to Wyden today and he’s going to focus on that as soon as he gets the job,” Reid said.

As Wydon steps into his new job, circumstances surrounding WOTC and other tax extenders have not changed significantly; if anything, however, things are at least inching toward a favorable outcome.

While pressure is mounting, House Republican leadership so far has not moved on tax extenders. Therefore, at this point the WOTC Coalition chooses to focus its efforts on seeking a bi-partisan tax- extenders proposal from the Senate Finance Committee.

Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Coalition, said on Friday,

“We need to concentrate now on two things—(1) pressing Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee to reach agreement on a two-year bi-partisan extenders bill, and (2) pressing all other senators to urge their leaders to pass a two-year extenders bill as soon as possible.”

CALL TO ACTION:

The following is published here with permission.

Subject: Action For WOTC And Tax Extenders Shifts To Senate
From: “Paul Suplizio” <wotc@cox.net>
Date: Fri, February 07, 2014 2:20 pm

February 7, 2014

Speaker John Boehner’s first order of business after the GOP retreat last week was to canvass House Republicans for provisions they want on a bill to raise the debt ceiling, which must be passed this month. His goal is to consolidate GOP support for the debt bill by attaching “sweeteners” that would attract votes.

Thanks to plentiful contacts made by our Coalition and other extenders before and during the GOP retreat last week, we followed up by approaching the Speaker with a proposal to attaching WOTC and other extenders to the debt ceiling bill.

There are around 90 Republicans in the House who won’t vote for an increase in the debt limit on principle, so Democratic votes are needed to pass a bill. WOTC and other extenders have strong Democratic support and are in the President’s budget, so we believe he would sign an increase in the debt ceiling with the extenders attached.

Today the Speaker had made no decision but appears to be settling on a bill lifting the debt ceiling with a Medicare doctors fix and military pensions attached. The debt limit doesn’t have to be increased until February 27th so the Speaker could take his time, but House Democrats are holding a retreat next week and the Senate is out the entire following week so floor time is limited.

Our view is the House won’t produce an extenders bill unless the Speaker tells Ways and Means to do so, and that hasn’t happened yet. With the House immobile on the extenders at this point, our best opportunity now lies in the Senate.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid has been show-casing Democratic priorities—voting on unemployment benefits this week, scheduling military retirement benefits next week—and we know the extenders are high in his priorities. He’s still the lead sponsor of the only significant extenders bill in Congress, S. 1859, and he could bring it up again at any time. On debt ceiling, he’s arguing for a clean bill but that doesn’t rule out a deal with Senator McConnell.

Now that Senator Baucus has been confirmed as Ambassador to Japan and Senator Ron Wyden has become chairman of the Finance Committee, we can urge the new chairman to work with Senator Hatch, the Republican leader on Finance, to get a bi-partisan deal to the Senate soonest. A bi-partisan deal on the extenders will likely assure passage, whereas Republicans have objected to the Reid bill, S.1859, because it hasn’t been pruned of extenders they don’t believe are worth the cost.

We need to concentrate now on two things—(1) pressing Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee to reach agreement on a two-year bi-partisan extenders bill, and (2) pressing all other senators to urge their leaders to pass a two-year extenders bill as soon as possible.

Initial contact by fax on your organization’s letterhead must be followed up to be effective. Arrange a meeting or phone call with your senator, or work with his or her legislative director to make sure your message has gotten through. Then check in once a week with the legislative staff to urge speedy action because of the harm to those WOTC is meant to serve–past program interruptions have resulted in hiring of WOTC workers being cut close to half.

Here’s a message you can put into your own words and embellish with the experience of your own organization:

Message for Democratic or Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee:

Dear Senator:

The work opportunity tax credit expired last December, and as yet the Senate has failed to move S.1859, the tax extenders bill introduced by Senator Reid. Moreover, the one-year extension of WOTC in S.1859 is no longer appropriate because Congress may not return after the coming election to pass another extension. Handing the ball to the new Congress could cause another five or six month interruption of WOTC hiring, which was on pace to reach one million jobs for veterans, people with disabilities, and long-term unemployed workers on food stamps last year. These WOTC hires are vital for people who have the toughest time finding a job and the tax credits that flow into the local economy are important to our communities, yet every interruption cuts the pace of hiring by half. Please work with your colleagues on Finance to send a bi-partisan two-year extension to the Senate as soon as possible. We also urge you to remove the age-40 cap on workers receiving food stamps, which discriminates against the many low-income seniors looking for work.

Message for all other senators:

Dear Senator:

The work opportunity tax credit expired last December and still the Senate has failed to move S.1859, the tax extenders bill introduced by Senator Reid. WOTC was on pace to reach one million jobs for veterans, people with disabilities, and long-term unemployed workers on food stamps this year, but we know from past experience every interruption cuts the pace of hiring by half. These WOTC hires are vital for people who have the toughest time finding a job, and the tax credits that flow into the local economy are important to our communities. Please urge Senator Reid and Senator McConnell to work together to craft a bi-partisan tax extenders bill, including a two-year extension of WOTC, and pass it as soon as possible.

 

Many thanks for your outpouring of support for our efforts in the House these past two weeks. We have a real opportunity in the Senate now—by re-doubling our action there, we can get a tax extenders bill to the floor as we did in December.

Should you have any question, do not hesitate to contact me at 703-587-4566.

PAUL E. SUPLIZIO
President, WOTC Coalition

 

URGENT WOTC – Just a Few Hours to Contact Republican House Member

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

House Republicans begin gathering TODAY for their annual retreat where members hope to set the agenda for Republican legislation in 2014. Members will have an opportunity to vocalize their concerns and priorities. It is critical that as many House members as possible voice their support for an extension of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit in a tax extenders bill.

Supporters of a WOTC extension have just hours before today’s close of business to fax, call or otherwise contact their Republican Representatives to inform and exhort them on this topic.

I have put together a Microsoft Excel worksheet listing Republican members with their Washington, DC fax and phone numbers.  You are welcome to download it here.  (I assembled this contact information from data provided by Congress Merge at at www.congressmerge.com)

[Update 11:56 AM, In my own use of the fax numbers in the list I posted, I've found that a few numbers are non-operative.  If you need to, you can look up your Representatives' contact information right from Congress' website: www.house.gov/representatives ]

 

Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Coalition, suggests contacting every House Republican in districts where you do business. The following is published here with permission.

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From: “Paul Suplizio” <wotc@cox.net>

January 27, 2014

Reminder:

Please contact every House Republican in districts where you have headquarters, branches, or operations with the following message by fax on your letterhead to their Washington office before close of business Wednesday:

(The Capitol operator will give you their fax number, call 202-224-3121.)

Here’s another model letter—you can use it verbatim or in your own words:

“Dear Congressman________________:

The House has made no decision on passing a tax extenders bill to renew tax code provisions that expired on December 31st. Most of these are provisions that businesses have relied on for years, such as the research and development tax credit and the work opportunity tax credit (WOTC) to hire unemployed veterans and get people off welfare and food stamps.

The tax extenders provide an estimated $70 billion a year in tax relief for that’s ploughed back by businesses into state and local economies, and will result in lost cash flow and jobs if they aren’t renewed.

Our company values tax policies like WOTC which expand job opportunities by working through the marketplace to create jobs via tax incentives for employers. WOTC accounts for nearly a million jobs a year targeted on those with the highest unemployment rates, and it has been shown to be the least costly of any Federal jobs program.

At your coming retreat, please raise the subject of the tax extenders and urge your leaders to give high priority to passage of a tax extenders bill including WOTC as soon as possible.

Sincerely, . . .”

 

Many thanks for your hard work in the campaign. We must argue forcefully for Congress to pass the tax extenders early and not put them off. The House might commit to doing a corporate tax reform bill and it will be tempting for the Leaders to put off the tax extenders till they see what comes of that. If corporate tax reform gets bogged down, Congress might not turn its attention to tax extenders again till after the election. That isn’t what we want so we’ll have to fight for passage of WOTC in Senate and House on every high-priority tax vehicle that comes up—a debt ceiling bill in February, a trade authority bill in March, a bill to raise the gasoline tax in May. Workforce Investment Act amendments may be on deck in June, and Welfare Reform needs to be re-authorized by September, so these are possible vehicles as well.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 703-587-4566.

PAUL E. SUPLIZIO
President, WOTC Coalition