Omnibus Package to White House

The FY 2016 omnibus spending package H.R. 2029, now heads to the White House after the 65-33 Senate and 316-113Shutdown Avoided iStock_000028362162_Medium House votes.

The $1.15 trillion omnibus spending bill funds federal government agencies for the remaining ten months of FY 2016 ending September 30, 2016. The bill includes funding for all 12 annual appropriations bills and reflects the increased domestic discretionary funding provided by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, enacted on November 2.

Prior to final passage of the omnibus spending bill, the House and Senate combined it with an earlier adopted $650 billion tax package that includes important provisions making some tax credits permanent. One of those tax provisions included Section 179, Small Business Deduction for capital expenses. This tax provision allows small businesses to take the full deduction of business equipment and software expenses in the same year in which they were purchased and thereby free up cash flow.  The provisions addressing Section 179 would permanently cap the small business deduction for capital expenses at $500,000, instead of $25,000. This would be retroactive for 2015. The Bonus Depreciation language would be extended for five years at 50 percent for 2015-2017, 40 percent in 2018 and 30 percent in 2019.

Stalling the talks for weeks were about 40 total policy riders that democrats deemed non-starters.  Some of those policy riders include how to handle Syrian refugees, campaign finance reforms, ending the U.S. crude oil export ban and the definition of joint employer.  One other policy rider holding up talks is the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule that clarifies the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corp of Engineers’ authorities over pollution of stream and wetlands.  A large number of Democrats are opposed to stopping the rule.  However there are a handful of (mainly western) Democrats that want the rule stopped.

At the end of negotiations only two of the multiple contentious policy riders made it into the final bill, namely reforms to the Visa Waiver program and lifting the ban on exporting U.S. oil. The WOTUS rule ended up being a major concession in the negotiations however implementation of the WOTUS rule remains under a stay granted by a federal court.

The White House is expected to sign the measure in to law.

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Tim Cansler