Upcoming Tax and Financial Services Week, February 28 | Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck

The House and Senate will meet again Monday at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively.

What to watch

Both chambers return to Washington after a hectic week away from Capitol Hill.

On the international front, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is expected to take up much of the attention and potentially speaking time. Lawmakers on both sides have an overt interest in providing additional aid to Ukraine through arms sales or additional sanctions against Russia.

President Biden will discuss the situation in his second State of the Union address, which he will deliver to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. Domestically, President Biden is expected to change his tone on the COVID-19 pandemic, moving towards not treating it as a crisis. He is also expected to urge Congress to move on his Build Back Better agenda and the US competitiveness packages that have been passed by both chambers. Senior White House adviser Cedric Richmond previewed President Biden’s speech late last week, saying he believed the president “will lay out his vision for the next year, but will also talk about the challenges that we met during the first year”. Richmond also suggested President Biden will discuss how the administration is tackling inflation and “those things that are affecting families right now.”

However, negotiations on the competitiveness package are at a standstill. Although the House followed the Senate in passing its version, the America COMPETES Act, in mid-February, no movement has taken place since then. The two houses must now consult on the two bills, but the decision on how to proceed, whether through a formal or informal process, remains undecided.

Congressional attention will be further divided now that President Biden has tapped Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve on the United States Supreme Court. While the Senate Judiciary Committee will be responsible for most of the heavy lifting at first, the full Senate will soon have to turn its attention to the nominations process, consuming valuable speaking time.

All of this could come up against a real roadblock. Inspired by the “Freedom Convoy” protests in Ottawa, Canada, a group of truckers are set to launch a similar protest this week in Washington to coincide with the State of the Union demanding an end to the state of emergency and the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown measures. In the words of one organizer, the convoy could be like “a giant boa constrictor… that squeezes you, chokes you and swallows you”.

On the floor

Neither the House nor the Senate should vote on tax or financial services legislation.

In committee

House Financial Services Committee

On Wednesday, the plenary committee will hold a hearing entitled “Monetary policy and state of the economyduring which the following witnesses will testify:

  • Jerome Powell (Chairman, Federal Reserve Board of Governors)

Powell will likely face questions about how the Federal Reserve can use its authorities to fight rising inflation, including interest rate hikes, which are expected to be increased soon. Other topics that have cropped up before could again be discussed, such as the Federal Reserve’s plans associated with a central bank digital currency and how it supports diversity and inclusion. A potentially new issue Powell could address concerns the global effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including the economic impact of sanctions on global supply chains.

Senate Banking Committee

On Thursday, the plenary committee will hold a hearing entitled “The semi-annual report on monetary policy to Congressduring which the following witnesses will testify:

  • Jerome Powell (Chairman, Federal Reserve Board of Governors)

Testifying a day after appearing before the House Financial Services Committee, Powell is expected to face similar questions from senators. However, as President Biden will have delivered the State of the Union address between the two meetings, the president’s comments could affect the discussion.

House Ways and Means Committee

On Wednesday, the plenary committee will hold a hearing entitled “Substance use, suicide risk, and the US healthcare systemduring which the following witnesses will testify:

  • Jonathan Metzl (professor of sociology and psychiatry and chair of the department of medicine, health and society, at Vanderbilt University)
  • Edwin Chapman (private practice physician specializing in addiction medicine)
  • Regina LaBelle (Director of the Substance Abuse and Public Policy Initiative at the O’Neill Institute)
  • Marielle Reataza (Executive Director of National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse)
  • Jessica Hulsey (Founder and CEO of the Addiction Policy Forum)

So-called “deaths of despair,” which generally include deaths by suicide and overdose, are increasing in the United States among adolescents, young adults and the elderly, despite a decline for the general population. The committee could explore potential causes for the increase among these groups, such as increased isolation during COVID-19 lockdown measures.

Senate Finance Committee

On Tuesday, the Committee of the Whole will hold a confirmation hearing to consider the following candidates:

  • Robert Michael Gordon (to be Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services)
  • January Contreras (to be Assistant Secretary for Family Support, Department of Health and Human Services)
  • Rebecca Jones Gaston (to be Commissioner for Children, Youth and Families, Department of Health and Human Services)

In case you missed it…

  • Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) sent a letter in February to Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) Russell George asking TIGTA to investigate the “revolving door” between major US accounting firms and the Treasury Department.

  • Representatives Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and Katie Porter (D-CA) recently introduced legislation to provide a more generous tax deduction at the state and local level. the SALT Act (Supporting Americans with Lower Taxes) would remove the $10,000 cap for taxpayers earning less than $400,000 and raise the limit to $60,000 for those earning above that threshold. For every $100,000 increase in annual income, the cap would decrease by $10,000.

  • The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on Thursday titled “Employer-Provided Child Care Credit: Estimated Claims and Factors Limiting Wider Use.” The GAO has found that the employer-provided credit can save employers more taxes than using a deduction alone, and that employees can exclude certain child care benefits from their taxable pay.


Upcoming activity

Below is a comprehensive list of all tax and financial services events in Congress, government, and the private sector for the coming week.

Congress

Tuesday, March 1

House Oversight and Reform Committee
From Recession to Recovery: Examining the Impact of State and Local Fiscal Stimulus Funds from the US Bailout

House Small Business Committee
Competition and the small business landscape: fair competition and a level playing field

House Education and Labor Committee
Improving retirement security and access to mental health benefits

Wednesday March 2

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
Implementation of the Law on Investments in Infrastructure and Employment by the Ministry of Transport

House Education and Labor Committee
Investing in Economic Mobility: The Important Role of Hispanic-Serving and Other Minority-Serving Institutions

Private sector

Tuesday, March 1

Heritage Foundation
Index of Economic Freedom 2022

Wednesday March 2

Brookings Institution
The Fed Powell: Retrospective and Prospective

Thursday March 3

washington post live
Way forward on cryptocurrency

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