The Senate and House of Representatives returned to Capitol Hill this week to kick off a post-election “lame duck” session, which is anticipated to run through at least mid-December. The one must-pass legislation will be a bill to continue to fund the federal government agencies that have not had full-year appropriations bills passed this fiscal year. The only full bills to be signed into law this year are Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, Defense, Labor-HHS-Education and Military Construction-Veterans Services; this covers about 75 percent of discretionary federal funding. All other agencies are funded by a continuing resolution which is set to expire on December 7.
Expect a battle over border security funding and the wall at the southern border to get most of the headlines during consideration of either a full-year omnibus bill for all remaining agencies (the preference of House Republicans) or a continuing resolution to carry over into the first couple of months of the next session of Congress. With the Democrats taking over control of the House in January, including the gavel of the Appropriations Committee, this may be a preference for them.
While they won’t get the same attention from the press as the border wall will, there are several priorities for the RV Industry Association that may be brought up during the lame duck session. A large package of public lands and waterways bills that the RV Industry Association and the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable (ORR) have supported is being put together with the hope of getting it passed on the floor of both houses before they adjourn.
Included in the proposed package are the Restore Our Parks Act/Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act (S.3172/H.R.6510), the Recreation Not Red Tape Act (S.1633/H.R.3400), the Modern Fish Act (S. 1520/H.R.2023), Land and Water Conservation Fund Authorization and Funding Act (S. 569/H.R. 6759), the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act (S. 1403/H.R. 2987) and the Every Kid Outdoors Act (S. 1522/H.R. 3186). In addition to the Lands Package, the RV Industry Association and ORR are pushing for full funding for the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account and a reauthorized Farm Bill to include important outdoor recreation in rural America. Click here for a full rundown of lands and waterways priorities in the lame duck.
Another priority for the RV Industry Association and RV dealers across the country is a technical fix to last year’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provisions on deductibility of floor plan financing to correct an error in drafting that does not include travel trailers in the definition of “motor vehicle” for purposes of the deduction. While motorhomes are included within the final definition of “a self-propelled vehicle used for the transport of person or property on the public highways and roads,” this leaves out all towable RVs. Legislation has been introduced in both the House (H.R. 6969) and Senate (S. 3600) to amend the definition to clarify that all forms of RVs are eligible for the deduction of floor plan interest.
The hope is that the House Ways & Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee will put together a package of technical corrections that will include the House and Senate language. Otherwise, we will try to get the language tacked on to another must-pass bill. Please ask your Member of Congress to support the technical correct.
One final significant issue which we will be pressing for some relief on is in the trade arena. We will be watching closely to see if Congress takes up any of the bills which might put a cap on the President’s seemingly limitless powers to impose tariffs, especially actions taken under the Section 232 national security umbrella. Several bills have been introduced on both sides to make changes to the method by which studies are done and tariff decisions are made under the 232 provisions.
Additionally, the RV Industry Association will be working with the Trade Subcommittees of House Ways & Means and Senate Finance for any possible avenues to overcome the report from the International Trade Commission that denied our petition for a competitive needs limits waiver for meranti/lauan from Indonesia under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.
For questions on any of these issues, please contact Mike Ochs at [email protected].