NJBIA's Public Policy Forum: The Road to Recovery REGISTER

The U.S. Senate Thursday sent a $1.4 trillion catch-all spending bill to President Donald Trump to finish the FY 2020 appropriations bills before the government is forced to shut down. White House officials have indicated he would sign it before the end of the day Friday, when current funding expires.

Senators broke the package into two separate bills, passing them 71-23 and 81-11.

Here’s a look at some of the key business provisions.

Export-Import Bank

The bank is an independent federal agency that helps U.S. businesses with their exports by guaranteeing loans, but the bank’s charter expired Sept. 30. The appropriations bill includes reauthorization for the agency through 2026.

NJBIA has joined the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and other business groups urging reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank. New Jersey, and particularly its manufacturers, relies on exports as a significant source of income and economic growth.

Over the past 19 years, the Ex-Im Bank has supported nearly $450 billion in exports from thousands of mostly small- and medium-sized companies, and helped support over 2.5 million American jobs.

Healthcare Taxes

The bill also would repeal three taxes imposed as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA): the 40% excise tax on high-end health insurance plans, a 2.3% tax on medical devices, and a fee on health insurance plans in 2021. The taxes were enacted to offset the cost of the ACA, but the 40% excise tax increase has never taken effect. Congress voted twice to delay it, and under current law, the tax would take effect in 2022.

Employee Savings Plans

The bill would also expand businesses’ access to open multiple employer plans (MEPs) by including the proposed SECURE (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement) Act. In short, the act would make it easier for employers to pool their employee savings plans to cut down on administrative costs.

According to an article by PlanSponsor, MEPs have been around for years, but have always required plan participants to be linked to each other somehow, such as located in the same area or working in the same industry.