HARDI Advocacy Recaps Busy Week in D.C.

The HARDI Advocacy has released news on what has been happening with the Trump administration.

Recently, the administration released a broad outline of its tax reform proposal, which would alter the tax code.

The Trump plan would reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to three with rates of 10 percent, 25 percent and a 35 percent top rate. The top rate would not apply to pass-through income, which would be taxed at 15 percent (along with the corporate tax rate). It would also include a full repeal of both the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax, and eliminate many deductions, including the ability to deduct state and local taxes from reported income. Speaking of deductions, the standard deduction would be doubled ($6300/single & $12,600/married and filing jointly), and the mortgage interest and charitable contribution deductions would remain the same.

Shifting focus to imports from foreign countries, President Trump directed his administration to investigate whether imports of foreign steel and aluminum are harming US national security. The probes, led by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, are expected to determine whether U.S. manufacturers can quickly scale up production during a national security event with their current supply of U.S. and imported steel and aluminum. The investigation could result in recommendations on whether to curb imports.

The investigation falls under the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, a section of which permits a U.S. president to restrict trade if he determines it is harmful to the country’s security. The U.S. imports steel from more than 90 countries, according to the International Trade Administration; top providers include Canada, Mexico, Russia, Brazil, Turkey and Germany. Ross said that imports have increased in the first months of this year.

The workforce could be seeing a change shortly. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce, chaired by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), has approved H.R. 1180, the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017. Introduced by Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), the legislation would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow private-sector employers to offer workers the choice of paid time off in lieu of cash wages for overtime hours worked.

This compensatory time, or “comp time,” would be completely voluntary for the employer and employee with strong worker protections to prohibit coercion. Comp time is already widely used by government employees.

Roby’s bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), which regulates workforce practices. In 1985, Congress amended the FLSA to allow the use of comp time in government agencies, but the practice remains prohibited in the private sector.

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