On December 7, Congress passed another short-term continuing resolution (CR) to avert a government shut-down. Reportedly, Congressional leaders hope that this two-week CR will give them enough time to secure a two-year budget deal that lifts the FY18 and FY19 “sequestration” spending caps. It is unlikely that during this brief and jam-packed time period they can also pass a final FY18 appropriations package based on the new caps, so another CR that delays final action until January or February of next year is anticipated. Since continuing resolutions tend to leave federal agencies in a holding pattern at best, the sooner a budget deal is reached and FY18 appropriations are completed, the better.
Regarding the budget deal, congressional leaders are reportedly considering cap increases for FY18 and again in FY19 in the range of $54 billion to $63 billion for Defense and $37 billion to $52 billion for non-Defense (NDD) spending. Research!America spearheaded a joint advocacy/advertising campaign making the case for reaching a budget deal as soon as possible this year that results in increased funding for our nation’s science agencies, and are encouraging the use of our #RaisetheCaps advocacy tools to keep the pressure on until a deal is signed into law.
The House and Senate have passed their respective tax reform packages and are currently attempting to reconcile the two bills into a final bill. On November 16, Research!America held a special Alliance Member meeting/call with Holland & Knight tax experts Robert Bradner, Kathleen Nilles and Nicole Elliott about the impacts – good and bad – of pending tax reform. As conference negotiations continue, Research!America is working to prevent inclusion of provisions that would reduce access to higher education and eliminate the orphan drug tax credit.
On November 28, Morning Consult published an opinion piece Research!America Vice President of Policy and Advocacy Ellie Dehoney wrote advocating for repeal of the medical device excise tax. We have also sent letters to House and Senate leadership calling for repeal of the tax. At this point, the most likely path forward is another two-year suspension of the tax as part of a bill to extend expiring Medicare programs.