After funding the government, the must-do list for Congress includes addressing the debt limit (which was suspended until March 1, 2019), extending expiring federal programs, and dealing with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Otherwise, we can expect Congress to focus on messaging bills. A Democratic House will look to roll back provisions from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in order to pay for progressive priorities. The Republican Senate, on the other hand, will look to extend the expiring provisions in TCJA, further cutting taxes on corporations and individuals, and permanently repeal Affordable Care Act (ACA) taxes. The Senate will also continue its work on Executive and Judicial branch appointments.
However, even with no major bills predicted to be signed into law, it doesn’t mean there will be no significant legislative activity. As we saw when Camp draft provisions from 2014 were included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, provisions from past legislative drafts have come back be included in future legislation.
While not much is likely to happen on the tax front, one area of focus that could see movement in both houses is retirement security. Numerous bills that would have enhanced retirement security were introduced in the 115th Congress with bipartisan support. The Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA) was one of the more prominent retirement efforts in the 115th Congress. It was introduced last year by Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and saw many of its provisions used in later bills, indicating a desire to revisit the retirement space for eventual reform.
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