The following update from Paul Suplizio, President of the WOTC Coalition, outlines a very time-limited potential opportunity to get WOTC back on track for 2014. To have any impact, WOTC supports will need to act promptly. Congress will wrap up its business and leave town by the end of this week for the Independence Day recess.
The following is published here with permission.
Subject: Opportunity Opens This Week For WOTC Extension On Highway Bill
From: “Paul Suplizio” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, June 23, 2014 4:56 am
June 23, 2014
An opportunity has arisen and if we swing into action and go all-out this week to capitalize on it, we might just see WOTC extended till the end of the year.
The opportunity arises in the Senate Finance Committee which must mark up a bill to reauthorize the almost empty Highway Trust Fund from which Federal capital expenditures for roads and bridges are made.
The fund needs $90 billion over ten years, but $8 billion will cover it for the rest of the year. A bill has to be passed in July because the fund runs dry in August. Because nobody can see a way to produce $90 billion in revenue to pass a long-term reauthorization, Senator Wyden and Senator Hatch are almost certain to write a short-term extension till year-end—Hatch says he’s sure it will be a short-term extension.
Wyden and Hatch are also aware that many senators on the Finance Committee are looking at this bill as a vehicle for their renewing their favorite tax extender for the year—and it’s possible Wyden and Hatch would allow a limited number of extenders to ride along on the Highway bill if there were a clamor for this or that extender by Finance Committee members when the committee marks up the bill.
Senator Wyden has been planning to call a markup of the Highway Trust Fund measure for this week because Congress will leave this Thursday or Friday for the July 4th recess and not return until July 7th. We aren’t sure whether he’ll be able to do it—the bill is linked to a long-range highway bill in the Energy and Commerce Committee that could lead to snags postponing markup until after the recess.
But we must assume there will be a markup Wednesday or Thursday, so we have very little time. Fortunately we are well positioned with all of us linked to Finance Committee senators and their legislative aides since our campaign last December. Now we have to swing into action contacting these same Finance Committee senators, Democrats and Republicans, urging them to include a year-long extension of WOTC (for 2014) in the Highway Trust Fund bill.
We’ve already laid the groundwork for you with a letter that was faxed to Senator Reid and Senator McConnell and every Finance Committee senator early this morning. The letter is one way to lay out our case for giving WOTC high priority for attachment to the Highway bill. This is one approach, you may bring in other arguments. In your contacts, be sure to start by underlining how you as a business are using WOTC successfully to hire eligible workers in the senator’s state, or how you as a service organization (veterans, disability, minority, community, etc) are using WOTC to place people you serve into private sector jobs in the senator’s state (our letter doesn’t include this point).
Allowing WOTC to remain expired for this year would not only cost WOTC workers more than 300,000 jobs, but will cost our WOTC employers who’ve been continuing to hire since January 1st, but cannot get their certifications approved till WOTC is renewed, around $1.7 billion dollars in financial liquidity that could have been invested in their business this year rather than next year or later.
WOTC has a strong case for high priority consideration in the Highway bill. The rest is up to us. Most of us haven’t talked to senators about the Highway bill, so this is a good time to reach out anew about the opportunity this bill presents to get something done and press the idea that, since it’s a short term vehicle covering this year, it would be a suitable vehicle for an extender like WOTC, whose continued expiration imposes costs in lost hires to the people it’s meant to serve, as well as costs in delayed tax savings which could have been invested in states and communities our employers serve.
Remember, we want to take this message to members of the Senate Finance Committee, Democrats and Republicans, and to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell via whatever routes you have available. It’s time to pull out all stops!
We will keep you informed. Please contact me if you have any questions, 703-587-4566.
PAUL E. SUPLIZIO
President, WOTC Coalition
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