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BCA, NAM Hail ExxonMobil’s $20 Billion Investment and Jobs Plan

ExxonMobil Corp. announced this week it will ultimately spend $20 billion over 10 years to build or update refining and manufacturing facilities on the Gulf Coast, creating about 45,000 new jobs.

BCA President and CEO William Canary commended ExxonMobil for its nearly 30 years of partnership and progress with south Alabama.

“ExxonMobil is investing in the Gulf Coast to the benefit of America and her energy needs,” Canary said. “Alabama will benefit from this investment by supplying workers and support from state businesses. Manufacturing will be boosted.”

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons said ExxonMobil’s announcement about investing in energy manufacturing is important great news because it demonstrates the connection between domestic energy production and manufacturing. Timmons said the investments “will lead to the creation of thousands of high-paying manufacturing jobs, and it’s all made possible thanks to the domestic energy revolution.”

U.S. manufacturers are starting and growing because of access to affordable energy, and America’s energy industry is boosting manufacturing jobs in the United States, the NAM said. For six years the NAM has released a series of economic reports showing that if the United States develops its vast energy resources, manufacturing will grow.

President Trump this week said ExxonMobil’s “is exactly the kind of investment, economic development and job creation that will help put Americans back to work.”


REPRESENTATIVE ROBY NAMES NEW CHIEF OF STAFF

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, this week named Torrie Miller Matous to serve as her chief of staff beginning on Monday. As Rep. Roby’s top adviser, she will lead a team of 15 staff members working from 2nd Congressional District offices in Washington, D.C., Andalusia, Dothan, and Montgomery.

Matous comes from the office of Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, where she was communications director for his Senate office and the committees he has chaired since 2014. Matous also worked in several capacities for Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, and the House Committee on Rules starting in 2009.

“I’m thrilled to announce that Torrie Miller Matous is coming on board as my new chief of staff,” Rep. Roby said. “Torrie is an exceptional leader with the right skill set to manage my office and all our various efforts.”

“It is an honor to join Representative Martha Roby’s team that works every day on behalf of the people of Alabama’s Second District,” said Matous, a Montgomery native. “I look forward to working with her and am particularly excited to serve my hometown congressional district in this new capacity.”

Matous succeeds Roby’s longtime chief of staff, Stephen Boyd, who recently joined Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice. “For six years Stephen Boyd led my office and helped me build an organization that truly makes a difference on behalf of those I represent,” Rep. Roby said.


LEGAL REFORM LEGISLATION ADVANCES IN U.S. HOUSE

Legal reform bills were in the U.S. House this week, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform along with the BCA had urged members to support H.R. 985, the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017.

The measure passed the House 220-201.

The act addresses trial lawyer-driven class-action abuses that have long saddled American business owners with unnecessary and burdensome litigation, the U.S. Chamber said in a letter to House members. The FICALA is a balanced piece of legislation that helps ensure that those who are truly harmed can use class and mass actions to be made whole while addressing many of the egregious problems that plague this type of litigation.

In addition, the “Furthering Asbestos Claims Transparency Act” deals with asbestos litigation fraud. The ILR has information about the FACT Act here.

Later today, the House is expected to consider “The Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act,” which would require federal judges to sanction attorneys whose claims are later found to be frivolous.


‘GUILTY BEFORE PROVEN INNOCENT’ REGULATION REPEALED

The U.S. Senate this week approved a House Joint Resolution to end an Obama-era law that basically made federal contractors guilty before they could prove their innocence.

The so-called “blacklisting” law was a boon to trial lawyers who only had to look through the list of businesses that self-reported potential violations and then sue them.

The U.S. Chamber supports H.J. Res. 37, which would invalidate the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council’s implementing regulations for President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order.

The executive order earned the “blacklisting” moniker because it is seriously problematic, burdensome, and unwarranted. They create a virtual “guilty until proven innocent” process on contractors, subcontractors, and would be contractors to self-report “violations” of 14 different labor and employment laws and executive orders including even minor citations and unproven allegations.


NO MATTER HOW YOU CUT IT, U.S. HAS HIGH CORPORATE TAX RATE

A Congressional Budget Office study said the United States has among the highest statutory corporate tax rates in the world and even after tax deductions and credits has the fourth highest.

According to the study, the top corporate income tax rate set by law has been 35 percent since 1993. With state taxes added in, the top statutory rate is on average 39.1 percent in 2012, “among the highest in the world.”

The CBO estimates that the U.S. average corporate tax rate for foreign-owned companies incorporated in the United States in 2012 was 29 percent, about 10 percentage points below the top U.S. statutory corporate tax rate. The effective marginal corporate tax rate in 2012 was an estimated 19 percent in the United States, the fourth highest among the Group of 20.

High tax rates affect corporate actions to the extent whether to invest in themselves, take assets overseas, and whether to consider employee benefits and address stockholder requirements.

The CBO said that three G20 countries have lowered their top corporate income tax rates since 2012 – Japan, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

As of 2015, Japan’s top statutory corporate tax rate was 32.1 percent and the effective rate was 18 percent in 2015. South Africa’s top statutory corporate tax rate fell from 34.6 percent in 2012 to 28 percent in 2015, and its estimated effective corporate tax rate fell from 9.0 percent in 2012 to 6.2 percent in 2015. The United Kingdom reduced its top statutory corporate tax rate from 24 percent in 2012 to 20 percent in 2015 but also slightly tightened the tax treatment of depreciation for equipment.

On net, those changes led to a reduction in the estimates of effective corporate tax rates from 18.7 percent in 2012 to 15.7 percent in 2015, the CBO said. “The United States made no change in federal corporate tax rates between 2003 and 2012 and by 2012, it had the highest top statutory rate in the G20,” the CBO said.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

House Committee Approves Obamacare Repeal Bill
The Hill (Sullivan 3/9) “The House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday advanced GOP legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare on a party line vote, moving the process forward even as the bill faces headwinds. Republican leaders are pushing forward with the process on a fast timetable, even as many conservatives strongly object to the bill, known as the American Health Care Act, and centrists harbor their own reservations.

“The committee markup lasted over 16 hours, stretching until after 4 a.m. Thursday before the measure was approved, 23-16. The measure now goes to the House Budget Committee, with plans for a vote in the full House within weeks.”

Government Operating Budget Work on Hold Until Obamacare is Repealed
Roll Call (Shutt 3/9) “Work on the fiscal 2018 budget resolution appears on hold until after Congress passes a repeal of the 2010 health care law. But Republicans on the budget and appropriations committees do not appear concerned about the delayed timeline or the upcoming budget request from the White House, which will ask lawmakers to increase defense discretionary spending by $54 billion and pay for it by an equal cut to domestic discretionary spending bills.

“That’s partly because the lawmakers in charge of spending decisions aren’t convinced the dramatic cuts to domestic spending being proposed by the Trump administration will actually make it into Congress’ budget resolution. ‘Our budget is not necessarily the president’s budget and the president’s budget is his priorities’, said Rep. Tom Cole, who sits on the Budget Committee and chairs the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

“House Budget Chairwoman Diane Black and Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi both said this week that they won’t release the fiscal 2018 budget resolution text until after the repeal and replace legislation is passed. It’s unclear how soon passage would occur though two House committees began marking up their bills Wednesday.”

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