David Burgess, VP of Government Relations

We wish you all a very happy holiday season and a great new year.

We have reported all year about the progress, in Washington DC, of the re-authorization of the WOTC program. Bills were introduced into House and Senate to make WOTC permanent. House Bill 2213 has 44 co-sponsors and Senate Bill 978 has 8. This is nearly 10% of both House and Senate members whose names are on the bill. Bi-partisan support for WOTC remains strong and we remain optimistic that it will be reauthorized before year’s end, but given the lateness of the hour and the sheer amount of business Congress has left to conduct before year’s end, we do not expect these bills to be put on the floor. An extension is much more likely.

With impeachment filling the airwaves, legislators are nonetheless working on budget and tax bills that need to be passed by year’s end. Funding for the government already ran out on November 20th, but the House passed a continuing resolution to maintain the current funding levels for another month. That means they have until December 20th to pass a funding bill.

The question is, what will be included in the package.
Since WOTC is not a stand-alone bill, it will be part of a package of spending measures. Congressmen are now negotiating over what will be included. What is happening now is some old-fashioned “horse trading.” House Democrats would like to increase the Earned Income Credit and the Child Tax Credit, Senate Republicans would like to make some technical corrections to the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. They are still working to find the package that will garner enough support to pass.

In addition to funding the government, there are a number of programs that require re-authorization, including big ticket items like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the primary welfare program. That means that whatever their differences, they will need to come to some solution that they can all live with or risk major disruptions in government services. Something will be passed. The only question for WOTC is whether it gets included in the bill. Everything we are hearing suggests that it will be.

McKenzie Chase will send updates regarding re-authorization.