With only a few short weeks before the New Year, the House and Senate completed a series of important legislative milestones including the bipartisan budget deal. With this budget deal in place, the House and Senate Appropriations Committee will begin to formally negotiate over the holiday recess by dividing up some $498.1 billion in domestic discretionary spending. They will have until January 15th to negotiate a spending package to replace the expiring continuing resolution to fund the government for rest of the fiscal year. More details will become available in early January so stay tuned for developments.
Congress has also cleared the re-authorization of programs at the Department of Defense, which authorizes $632.8 billion for the Pentagon and defense-related programs for FY 2014.This year’s authorization no longer contains limitations regarding the Department of Defense's use of green building codes and rating systems, including LEED. For more information on these provisions and others the summary of the defense bills are included here.
While some legislative items are complete there are many unresolved ones. Top of line for USGBC and many others in the real estate community includes the lack of action to extend a number of energy tax provisions. A number of key tax items, including the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction 179(D) and the New and Efficient Homes Credit 45(L), are set to expire at the end of the calendar year.
USGBC has been working with allies to urge Congress to extend these critical incentives. While we are encouraged by the number of Senators and Representatives urging that the tax writing committees take action on building energy incentives and others important energy measures, it seems clear that debate on these items will need to be undertaken beginning in 2014.
Beyond working on funding and finance issues, Congress still has a number of items to resolve next year including action on bipartisan energy efficiency legislation.
Here is hoping that 2014 is productive one for Congress!