ACG will soon open registration for our Middle Market Fly-In scheduled for June 19. The event will provide ACG members with an exclusive opportunity to come to Washington, D.C., to advocate on behalf of the middle market and inform policymakers on its economic impact.
In other news, the opportunity zones program continues to be examined and refined, as the Senate and the Department of Housing and Urban Development determine how the new program is best employed.
Finally, the Trump Administration is strengthening the Congressional Review Act through a memo from the Office of Management and Budget in an attempt to ensure all “major” regulations are properly deemed as such, allowing them to be reviewed quickly by Congress.
ACG Middle Market Fly-In
ACG will be holding our annual Middle Market Fly-In on June 19 to strengthen the voice of the middle market on Capitol Hill. This is an opportunity for ACG members from across the country to come together in Washington, D.C., to speak to their elected representatives about the important role of the middle market in creating jobs and boosting revenue, as well as the need for policies that promote middle-market growth.
Despite the powerful impact of the middle market on the U.S. economy, it has been underrepresented in policy discussions historically. Participants in ACG’s Middle Market Fly-In will have a chance to educate members of Congress and their staff about the middle market and to promote the Congressional Caucus for Middle Market Growth, a group of lawmakers committed to pro-growth policies. These efforts help ensure the middle market stays top of mind with policymakers.
No experience on Capitol Hill is necessary. Before embarking on Hill visits, all registered ACG members will participate in advocacy training that will cover everything they need to know for a successful afternoon of meetings.
There is no cost to attend the Fly-In, but registration is required. Register today to tell the positive story of the middle market directly to policymakers.
Opportunity Zones Continuing to Be Refined
As opportunity zone investment funds continue to attract money from investors looking to defer and lower their capital gains taxes, legislators and regulators are continuing to fine-tune the program.
Opportunity Zone Data-Collection Bill Approaches
An upcoming bill authored by the original architects of the opportunity zone initiative would mandate that the Treasury Department pursue the collection and disclosure of data about how the program is being used.
Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., are planning to introduce a bill in May that would require the Treasury Dept. to track the number of opportunity funds, their holdings and the composition of their asset classes. That data would be used in annual report to Congress. Additional information to be tracked would include the type of real estate activity being funded and the effects of opportunity funds on economic prosperity in their local communities. All information tracked would be required to be made public, though it would be submitted anonymously.
Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., and Todd Young, R-Ind., are expected to sponsor the legislation as well. The upcoming bill adds on to measures in S.293, the “Investing in Opportunity Act,” which was the basis for the opportunity zones provision in the 2017 tax reform law—though the bill did not include the data collection and transparency standards. S.293 was spearheaded by Sens. Booker and Scott.
Housing and Urban Development RFI for Maximizing Opportunity Zones Impact
On April 12, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a request for information on the best ways to maximize the impact of opportunity zones. Per the release, the RFI is intended to “allow the public to share existing knowledge and provide recommendations to HUD regarding the use of public and private investments in urban and economically distressed communities, including qualified Opportunity Zones.”
In addition to other questions in the RFI, HUD asked how it can use its existing authority to maximize the benefits of the opportunity zones program; whether they should create an information portal; and how support for urban and economically distressed areas should be prioritized. HUD also seeks information about how technical assistance should be provided, how to evaluate the impact of opportunity zones, and how the agency should interact with other stakeholders to maximize the opportunity zones incentive.
The full RFI is available here. Comments will be due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.
OMB Moves to Strengthen Congressional Review Act
Government agencies will now be required to regularly submit data about all rules to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the White House Office of Management and Budget, per a memo circulated by the agency.
According to the memo, OIRA should be regularly notified of all upcoming rules from offices that are subject to the Congressional Review Act, which provides Congress with the ability to quickly overturn regulations that are “major.”
Major regulations include those that have an annual economic impact of $100 million or more; impose a major increase in costs for individuals, industries, or governments; or significantly adversely affect investment, employment, productivity or competition.
The memo dictates that a list is to be sent regularly to OIRA summarizing all upcoming rules, and whether the agency responsible for them considers any to be major.
The memo also states that agencies are not to release rules prior to OIRA’s determination. It cites a recent Government Accountability Office interpretation that guidance from agencies can be considered to be rules, thus subjecting them to the Congressional Review Act as well.
This memo shows the administration’s efforts to strengthen the Congressional Review Act and to place limits on the power of agencies to exercise powers not specifically delegated to them by Congress.
Are you an ACG member who enjoys reading the public policy roundup? Join our Public Policy Interest Group to receive even more in-depth coverage of federal policy activity impacting the middle market, as well as opportunities to help shape ACG’s advocacy efforts.
Maria Wolvin is ACG Global’s vice president and senior counsel, public policy.
Ben Marsico is ACG Global’s manager of legislative and regulatory affairs.