Government Relations

Government Relations Legislative Update

Government Relations Legislative Update

Updates on state and federal issues relating to the UW System.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fedeal Update for March 15

By a vote of 271 to 158, the House cleared H.J. Res. 48, the three-week continuing resolution (CR) that would keep the government funded through April 8.  The current CR expires this Friday evening.   The Senate is expected to follow suit later this week.

The text of the CR is available A summary of the measure is available at

The Senate is now debating S. 493, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/ Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) reauthorization bill.  
The UW System supports reauthorizing the SBIR and STTR programs.  Wisconsin's growth of high-tech clusters owes their origin, in large part, to the availability of these federal programs which help to translate and transform innovative ideas and projects into new products and services that produce jobs and economic growth. Senate action on the bill is expected early next week.  

During the floor debate, Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Scott Brown (R-MA), and David Vitter (R-LA) are expected to offer an amendment that would repeal the "3% withholding" provision that would go into effect January 1, 2012.  The 3% withholding law, which was enacted in Section 511 of the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-222) as section 3402(t) of the Internal Revenue Code, mandates that federal, state, and local governments with annual expenditures above $100 million withhold 3% of nearly all of their contract payments, Medicare payments, farm payments, and certain grants.
Designed as a revenue raiser and an attempt to curb tax fraud by government contractors, the three percent withholding would be submitted to the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of the service providers and contractors, and the amounts would be counted as part of their tax payments for a given year.  This is a provision that would have an impact on a large number of public entities, including public universities and is of great interest to private businesses and governmental entities alike.