Like it or hate it, this 117th U.S. Congress has been anything but a “do-nothing Congress” as President Truman described the legislative branch in 1948. Lawmakers passed bipartisan infrastructure legislation and bipartisan semiconductor manufacturing law. Democrats passed the largely partisan American Rescue Plan Act and the fully partisan Inflation Reduction Act. These four bills alone represent over $3.5 trillion in new federal spending. And they’re not done yet.
With the elections behind us, we now enter the lame-duck Congress, where recently defeated members of the U.S. House are physically removed from their office space yet still have to cast votes in the final weeks of the year. Despite all the legislative activity thus far, Congress still has much on its plate. By Christmas, we expect lawmakers to finalize legislation funding the federal government, long past its September 30 fiscal-year due date. Every year since 1964, lawmakers pass the National Defense Authorization Act – that bill is currently on the Senate floor.
We are also seeing a strong push to reinstate full immediate expensing for the R&D Tax Credit that is now amortized effective Jan. 1, 2022. There is an industry effort to include a four-year R&D credit extension as part of a tax-extenders’ package that could also prevent 100% bonus depreciation from slipping to 80% as planned on Jan. 1, 2023. We could see action in a number of other policy spaces yet as Democrats try to keep the lights on a little longer before turning the keys to the U.S. House of Representatives over to Republicans in January. Don’t let the term "lame duck" fool you; this Congress isn’t done yet.