Mid-Term Election Update

As a result of the mid-term elections, we expect Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) to take over as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, with Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) serving as the ranking member. Representative Neal has been an ally of nonprofit organizations during his tenure.

On the other side of the Capitol, Chuck Grassley has announced his plans to leave the Senate Judiciary Committee to lead the Finance Committee next year, leaving Senator Lindsey Graham in line to replace him as chairman.

Grassley will replace Finance Committee Chair Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), who is set to retire at the end of this year. Grassley previously led the Finance Committee for six months in 2011 and again between 2003 and 2006. He can do so again for two more years under Republican rules on committee membership term limits. He served as ranking member of the Finance Committee from 2007 to 2011.

“The economy is better than it’s been in years and there’s a sense of optimism about the future of our country that people haven’t felt in a long time thanks to the pro-growth policies of a Republican President and a Republican majority in Congress,” Grassley said. “Looking ahead, at the Finance Committee, I want to continue to work to make sure that as many Americans as possible get to experience this good economy for themselves."

Grassley answered in the affirmative when asked whether nonprofit oversight would be a focus during another stint as Finance Committee chair. "Whatever committee I've been on, I spend more time on oversight than I do on legislating. And I intend to keep that up," Grassley told Tax Notes on November 14. "I only need one vote to do oversight - my own vote."

Senator Grassley worked closely with ECFA during 2010-2012 as the Commission on Accountability and Policies for Religious Organizations considered a litany of nonprofit tax policy issues.

Senator Lindsay Graham’s leadership of the Senate Judiciary Committee will include influence over a number of Department of Justice confirmations, such as attorney general, as well as oversight of the DOJ in relation to Robert Mueller’s investigation of President Trump.   

Congress will tackle several policy priorities during the lame duck session. This includes the need to pass a spending bill before a significant portion of government funding expires on December 7. Other priorities include a farm bill, criminal justice reform, and judicial confirmations, to name a few.

ECFA will continue to monitor issues on Capitol Hill that are of interest to churches and nonprofits and provide updates in our News section.