January 2024 Federal Legislative Recap

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The first month of an election year—especially a presidential election year—is always a busy one, but 2024 has been exceptionally busy thanks in part to how slow 2023 was. Congress started the year off the way that it ended, by passing a short-term funding bill, keeping the federal government open until at least early March. Congress has until March 1 to fund some agencies and until March 8 to ensure that agencies like the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) are funded for the fiscal year. They are attempting to pass 12 appropriations bills, but if that does not happen Congress could pass another continuing resolution extending the deadline, or face the worst-case scenario of a government shutdown.

Somewhat surprising was the introduction of a bipartisan tax compromise between the Democrat-led Senate Finance Committee and the Republican-led Ways and Means Committee, known as the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024. The legislation, which has supporters and detractors on both sides of the aisle, would expand the child tax credit and business tax breaks. Breweries could potentially benefit from the extension of some of the small provisions, like the following:

  • Extend the allowance for depreciation, amortization, or depletion in determining the limitation on business interest
  • Extend 100% bonus depreciation for qualified property
  • Increase limitations on expensing of depreciable business assets

To pay for these provisions, Congress would limit businesses’ claims for the employee retention tax credit (ERTC) until January 31, 2024 (currently, businesses can claim ERTC through April 15, 2025). As of February 2, the legislation passed the House with a bipartisan vote of 357 to 70. It still needs to overcome the hurdle that is the Senate, and there is only a limited timeframe to do so for the retroactive tax benefits to be taken this tax season. Breweries can find more information about the tax legislation here.

A strong supply chain benefits the brewing industry. That is why the Brewers Association (BA) joined other trade associations on a letter expressing our support for the False Claims Enhancement Act, introduced by Representative Ken Buck (R-Colo.). The existing False Claim Act protects the government from being defrauded by a private party who has made a false claim. Rep. Buck’s legislation aims to “correct the scope of the False Claims Act to penalize actors who charge misleading fees to collect money they claim is owed to the federal government.” If passed, the legislation would ensure that tariff fees couldn’t be imposed on non-tariffed products. In the case of breweries, this would impact materials like aluminum imported from countries that are exempt from the 232 tariffs on aluminum and steel.

The BA, along with more than 200 national and state trade associations, sent a letter to Congress asking them to support the Credit Card Competition Act, bipartisan legislation led by Senators Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Representatives Lance Gooden (R-Texas-5) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.-18). The Credit Card Competition Act would require the largest credit card issuing financial institutions in the country to enable the use of at least two unaffiliated credit card networks to process credit card transactions.

Cheers to the legislators who joined the House Small Brewers Caucus in January: Rep. Yadira Caraveo, M.D. (D-Colo.-08), Rep. Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Calif.-37), Rep. Kevin Mullin (D-Calif.-15), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.-19), Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.-45), and Rep. Gabe Vasquez (D-N.M.-02).

Check out the BA’s new legislative resource for members. See what legislation we are tracking, connect with your elected officials, and more.

Don’t forget to sign up for the BA 2024 Hill Climb, June 11-12 in Washington, D.C.