May 12, 2014
Senator Reid opened the Senate today by calling up H.R.3474, the “Hire More Heroes Act of 2014,” which will be the vehicle for passing the tax extenders, including expansion of WOTC to cover the long-term unemployed.
Workers must have 27 consecutive weeks of unemployment, which includes a period during which State or Federal unemployment compensation was received, to be eligible for the new target group, “qualified long-term unemployment recipient.”
The WOTC extension and long-term unemployment provision are both retroactive to December 31st, 2013. The Indian employment tax credit and empowerment zone tax incentives are likewise extended retroactively through 2015.
Because of election-year politics, final passage of the extenders could be delayed till after the election; it would be advisable to notify your Human Resources department now to begin keeping records of hires in the long-term unemployed category so WOTC credits can be claimed when the bill passes, as IRS will issue guidance allowing requests for certification of these workers to be submitted to State Workforce Agencies at that time.
H.R. 3474, which has already passed the House, will be amended on the Senate floor to include the text of S.2260, “Expiring Provisions Improvement, Reform, and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Act” approved by the Senate Finance Committee.
The Majority Leader’s motion to limit debate and proceed to H.R. 3474, as amended, will likely be voted on by Wednesday. Sixty votes will be required to pass this motion and proceed to a final vote on the bill.
As there are so many extenders, a great deal of activity is still underway by senators wanting to amend the bill. At this point, amendments will have to be cleared by Senator Reid to succeed—we know of none for WOTC although we’ve advanced several improvements we consider high priority.
A complication that may arise is Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller’s efforts to persuade Senator Reid to attach a six-month extension of unemployment compensation to the extenders. The UI extension has already passed the Senate but is going nowhere in the House, so senators from high-unemployment states like Nevada are looking for a way to move it to the House floor.
There are also concerns about a “Statement of Administration Policy” from the White House indicating a permanent extension of the research and experimentation tax credit, which just passed the House, is unlikely to be signed because its cost isn’t covered. The Administration’s position is that it supports tax extenders in its budget and supports making R&E and WOTC permanent; however, making any extender permanent should be part of tax reform where its cost will be covered.
This doesn’t mean the President will veto a short-term tax extenders bill if it’s not offset, because the Pay Go Act’s requirement that the cost of any bill be covered applies to new policy or change of policy, but not to continuation of current policy.
Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp’s campaign to deal decisively with the tax extenders once and for all is rolling now at full steam exactly as he outlined three months ago. For two days in the House last week, Camp masterminded the debate and steered the bill making R&E permanent to a climactic bi-partisan vote. He plans to do the same with separate bills to permanently extend increased Section 179 spending limits and other provisions in the days ahead.
That permanent R&E came to the floor demonstrates Camp and the House leadership mean business on settling their policy—go or no-go—on every tax extender after a Committee hearing and vote on each this year
Permanent R&E was successful because it had Camp’s support. Making WOTC permanent doesn’t have Camp’s support. Our best road to assuring permanent WOTC is by winning the support of Ways and Means Republicans who will vote it up or down at some unscheduled date ahead. Our efforts are in full swing to get face-to-face contact with these members, but if we don’t follow through with contacts with Ways and Means Republicans now, as we’ve called for, we’ll regret it later. This work can only be done by you, our members in the states and districts of these congressmen.
Many thanks for the hard work of members participating in the campaign; wotc’s future is on the line here, don’t let up.
PAUL E. SUPLIZIO
President, WOTC Coalition