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November 6, 2017 11:15 AM, EST
Capitol Agenda for the Week of Nov. 6: Tax Reform Cometh
President Donald Trump White House via YouTube

The leader of a group representing a large portion of the trucking industry is urging lawmakers to advance a tax reform bill the Republican-led tax-writing House Ways and Means committee will consider for most of this week.

In a Nov. 2 letter to Congress, American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear emphasized that an overhaul of the country’s tax policies that manages to lower rates on business income, broaden the base to make it more equitable and simplify the code ultimately will help motor carriers.

 

“Lowering the corporate rate will free up cash to invest in newer, safer, cleaner and more efficient equipment while also helping carriers pay drivers more and make necessary investments in workforce development,” Spear wrote. “Broadening the tax base to allow such rate reductions will eliminate special tax breaks enjoyed by industries that are more heavily dominated by large business entities than trucking.”

During a recent trip to Harrisburg, Pa., where he touted the trucking industry’s contributions, President Donald Trump argued a tax package would bolster wages across the industry.

“We want lower taxes, bigger paychecks and more jobs for American truckers and for American workers,” Trump said. “Nothing gets done in America without the hardworking men and women of the trucking industry. … When your trucks are moving, America is growing. Do you agree? That is why my administration has taken historic steps to remove the barriers that have slowed you down. America first means putting American truckers first.”

Trump said he is hopeful a tax reform bill would reach his desk by the end of the year. Several Democrats are criticizing the tax package for not addressing infrastructure funding concerns. Administration officials have indicated that after the president signs the tax measure into law, their attention will turn to infrastructure funding, another priority for the trucking industry.

THE WEEK AHEAD:

Nov. 6, noon: House Ways and Means Committee begins its consideration of a tax reform bill. The markup’s conclusion is expected by the end of the week.

Nov. 7, 10 a.m.: The House Natural Resources Committee meets for a hearing titled: “Examining Challenges in Puerto Rico’s Recovery and the Role of the Financial Oversight and Management Board.”

Nov. 8, 9:45 a.m.: The Senate Commerce Committee considers the nomination of Ray Martinez to become administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Nov. 9, 10 a.m.: The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation holds the forum, “Innovation vs. Maintenance in the Drive Toward ‘Hybrid’ Infrastructure.” Speakers include John Casana, director of the American Society of Civil Engineers; Andrew Russell, professor at the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute; Robert Puentes, CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation; Lee Vinsel, assistant professor at Virginia Tech; Stephen Ezell, vice president of global innovation policy at ITIF.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

GARDEN STATE: Freight transportation, infrastructure issues and jobs will be key considerations for many voters electing new governors Nov. 7 in New Jersey and Virginia. 

WAYMO: AutoNation Inc., the largest car-dealer group in the U.S., reached an agreement to maintain and help manage fleets for Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Alphabet Inc.

TALKING CAR: The Trump administration has quietly set aside plans to require new cars to be able to wirelessly talk to each other, auto industry officials said, jeopardizing one of the most promising technologies for preventing traffic deaths.

BUZZ:

FMCSA’s leadership structure will continue to evolve after the departure of Deputy Administrator Daphne Jefferson, sources tell us.

WHAT WE’RE READING:

In The Hill newspaper, we learn about Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster’s possible next act.

FAVORITE QUOTE:

Our mass transit sucks. Unless you’re going to [Philadelphia] or New York for work, you can forget mass transit.

Gail Toth, executive director, New Jersey Motor Truck Association, in an interview with TT’s Eleanor Lamb.

FAVORITE VIDEO:

Recap of Operation Black and Blue.

FAVORITE TWEET:

A sick burn, courtesy of former Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.).

Thank you for reading Capitol Agenda. We publish Tuesdays when Congress is in session. E-mail emulero@ttnews.com with tips. Follow @eugenemulero and @transporttopics on Twitter.