With approximately three weeks remaining in this year's Congressional session, it is unclear what and how much will be accomplished before adjournment. It appears that the main focus will be on completing all appropriations bills in order to keep the federal government operating. Currently the government is operating under what is known as a "Continuing Resolution (CR)". These are necessary when the federal government's fiscal year ends (September 30) and there are unfinished appropriations bills for individual agencies. The current CR expires on December 16, 2011.
Since time is short and it is doubtful that individual appropriation bills can be completed before adjournment, there are two general options for addressing the issue. First, the CR could be extended for another period of time to get Congress through the beginning of next year. The problem with this option is that a CR is usually a short-term, temporary fix which means Congress will have to continue working on funding the government well into the next fiscal year. The more likely option is to group all of the remaining appropriations bills into one large bill which is known as an "Omnibus" appropriations bill. These generally will keep the government running up until the end of the next fiscal year. While not considered ideal, it is considered the better of the two options.
Another question, especially of interest to NPGA members, is what happens to the expiring tax provisions in place benefiting the propane industry? Given the short amount of time left in this session it is unlikely that an extension of these provisions will be an easy task. Clearly any major tax reform will not be addressed this session, but there are some expiring tax issues that very well may be on the Congressional agenda such as the payroll tax deduction that would affect all American workers. How Congress will decide what if any tax issues must be addressed before the end of the year is anyone's guess. However, NPGA will continue to work towards the goal of continuing to provide any current tax provisions benefiting the propane industry.
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