U.S. Chamber Key Vote Letter to the House on Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations Bills

Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - 10:00am

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

          The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports H.R. 1158 and H.R. 1865, which would finalize fiscal year 2020 spending, and will consider including votes on this legislation in our annual How They Voted scorecard.

          In addition, the Chamber strongly supports several important provisions related to:

SECURE Act – The SECURE Act would expand and improve retirement security for all Americans, including hundreds of thousands who work for small businesses.  It would encourage small businesses to establish retirement plans by providing startup and auto enrollment credit. It would protect long-serving older workers in defined benefit plans from benefit cuts, allow older Americans to choose taking retirement benefits at a later date, allow plan sponsors to automatically enroll participants at a higher contribution rate, and expand retirement coverage to long-term, part-time employees. This legislation would also encourage employers to maintain employer-provided plans through a number of other beneficial changes such as simplifying notice requirements, reducing premium contributions to the defined benefit plans of cooperative and small employer charity plan sponsors, and making contributions to defined benefits plans of certain community newspapers more manageable.  The legislation also would fix a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provision that subjects certain military families to additional taxation on certain survivor benefits.

Seven Year Export-Import Bank Reauthorization – Reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im) has been a longstanding priority for the Chamber.  As the official U.S. export credit agency, Ex-Im’s mission is to support domestic jobs by facilitating the export of goods or services when private sector lenders are unable or unwilling to provide financing.  In addition to a number of useful reforms to this important program, the Chamber applauds the inclusion of provisions that would establish an alternative procedure if there is a lapse in Ex-Im Board’s quorum to ensure that Ex-Im can continue to serve its vital role in supporting U.S. jobs.

Terrorism Risk Insurance Act Reauthorization – Since its initial enactment in 2002, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) program has served as a vital public-private risk sharing mechanism, ensuring that private terrorism risk insurance coverage remains commercially available and that the U.S. economy would more swiftly recover in the event of a terrorist attack.  In addition to providing long-term certainty for this program, this provision would also include a study on the evolving risks in cyber-terrorism and the affordability and availability of TRIA coverage for places of worship.

Tax Provisions, including Health Care Taxes – The full repeal of the Cadillac Tax, the Health Insurance Tax (HIT), and the Medical Device Tax (MDT) would be a significant achievement. These three taxes undermine employer-sponsored health care coverage, contribute to rising health insurance premiums, and hurt our nation’s economic growth and job creation. Each has had significant and detrimental effects on businesses in the past, and if allowed to go into effect once again, threaten to further inhibit medical innovation and pass higher costs and fees onto patients and their families.  In addition, the inclusion of certain tax extenders, such as controlled foreign corporation (CFC) look-through, would help American businesses compete globally.

H-2B Visa Cap Relief – The bill would provide DHS with the discretion to issue additional visas in excess of the statutorily-established 66,000 annual H-2B quota.  Furthermore, this bill contains other critical H-2B provisions from years past that would ensure that employers have flexibility to hire the essential temporary workers they need when they need them, as well as prevent the implementation of undue compliance burdens upon seasonal employers.

Reauthorization of the Brand USA Program – Brand USA is critical to marketing domestic tourist destinations to international travelers. This legislation would extend this public private partnership’s authorization to FY 2027, which would ensure the long-term viability of the program to continue to draw more international travelers to America’s cities, small towns, national parks, and other tourist spots across the country.

SBA 7(a) Loan Program – The bill includes $876 million for the SBA to provide assistance to small businesses, expand the economy, and increase job growth for unemployed and underemployed Americans.  The bill fully funds the disaster loans program at $177 million.  The bill would also fund several valuable programs, including $131 million for Small Business Development Centers, $31 million for microloan technical assistance, and $14.2 million for veterans outreach programs.  In addition, the bill would increase the authorized levels for SBA’s Business Loans Programs and supports a level of $30.5 billion for the 7(a) loan program and $8 billion for the 504/Certified Development Company program.

          The Chamber supports swift passage of H.R. 1158 and H.R. 1865.

Sincerely, 

Suzanne P. Clark

President

U.S. Chamber of Commerce