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December 9, 2013
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate are back in Washington D.C. this week as lawmakers try to hammer out a budget agreement. Last week, the House of Representatives moved 14 pieces of legislation through its chamber including: legislation extending the ban on the manufacture of any gun that cannot be identified by metal detectors or airport imaging technology, and a bill to reform the patent litigation process. The Senate was in recess. This week, the House of Representatives could consider a reauthorization of federal agricultural programs, and/or legislation to repeal the sustainable growth rate formula for Medicare payments to doctors. The Senate is scheduled to vote a DC Circuit Court nomination and will continue to consider a defense policy bill.
The main task facing Congress, however, is to come to an agreement on spending levels for the federal government. Absent such an agreement, federal government operations will be partially shutdown starting January 15, 2014. Given the House of Representatives’ desire to leave town for the Christmas holiday on December 13, and not to return until January 7 for the new session of Congress next year, the timeframe to strike an agreement is tight. Media reports have indicated that an agreement is close but negotiations continue. If the budget deal was easy to achieve, it would have already happened. Even if a deal is reached between Budget Conference Chairmen Ryan and Murray, there is no guarantee that the agreement will be enacted into law.
The ASPPA GAC team remains concerned that increases to PBGC premiums will be included in the budget deal. Last week, ASPPA joined other organizations in a letter to each Budget Conferee urging them not to include PBGC premium increases in a budget deal. We will be sure to keep you posted as these important negotiations continue and we get more details.
--Andrew J. Remo, Congressional Affairs Manager
On December 3, 2013, ASPPA submitted comments to DOL, recommending simplified guidance on same-gender spouses in ERISA-covered employee benefit plans. [Comment]
On October 23, 2013, ASPPA responded to a request for comments from the IRS on proposed rules regarding electronic filings. [Comment]
On October 21, 2013, ACOPA responded to an IRS request for comments, recommending the continued publication of combined static mortality tables. [Comment]
On October 17, 2013, ASPPA submitted comments to the IRS requesting guidance on amendments that may be adopted during the year without endangering a plan's safe harbor status. [Comment]
On October 4, 2013, ASPPA submitted comments to the IRS regarding further guidance on the implementation of new rules about same-gender spouses. [Comment]