There will be a “bloodbath” in Washington this summer and fall as Congress wrestles with a number of tax and debt-related issues. That was the word from Dani Kehoe, an attorney who represents the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. Kehoe was one of the presenters at Tuesday’s NAIFA virtual Congressional Conference.
Among those issues, she said, are raising the debt limit and approving a plan to fund the federal government by Oct. 1 or risk a shutdown. “It’s going to get hot and hairy,” she said.
With Democrats holding a four-vote lead in the House of Representatives, and the Senate evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, there is little bipartisanship in the Capitol, NAIFA members were told. But panelists said some issues do have bipartisan support.
SECURE 2.0 “shows signs of being widely bipartisan,” Kehoe said, with a good chance of being enacted in the fall.
Kehoe said the current Congress faces “one of the more challenging tax agendas I’ve seen in a long time.” Tax proposals include raising the corporate tax rate and individual tax rate, a tax on unrealized gains and implementing a national paid leave program that would have an impact on employer-sponsored disability programs.
“I’m not sure Democrats and Republicans can achieve agreement on that. There is skepticism about whether a package will be decided on. There is a lot of pressure to follow through on the ideology of tax the rich,” she said. “You have that mindset behind these proposals.”
President Joe Biden’s top priority right now is passing an infrastructure bill. But Democrats and Republicans have different opinions on what infrastructure really means, said Scott Sinder, partner with Steptoe & Johnson. “For Republicans, infrastructure means things such as roads and bridges. Democrats want to broaden the bill to a human capital bill.”
Tell The Story
The prevailing message members need to send to Congress, speakers said, was that NAIFA members serve everyday Americans, and the products and services they offer provide benefits that extend far into the future.
Members of Congress have little exposure to the financial services industry, said Alison Weiss of MassMutual. “This is an opportunity to meet that member where they are and impart some wisdom on the products we offer. Make sure there is awareness and a teaching moment for them to learn about the value of our products and what we do.”
Congressmen “need to hear the true stories of the front lines of the people in the states and how insurance impacts their day to day lives,” said Brad Knox of Aflac. “Tell them that ‘this policy that you do or do not support impacts the people I serve.’ There are few things more impactful than the human story.”
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.
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