House lawmakers on December 17 passed a $629-billion package of tax extenders, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Bill of 2015 (HR 2029), by a vote of 318 to 109. The measure now goes to the Senate, which is slated to hold a vote on December 18 after merging both the extenders package and the omnibus appropriations bill. In the meantime, the president signed another continuing resolution (P.L. 114-100) that will fund the government through December 22.
“The most important thing for the American people to know is that this bill prevents their taxes from increasing, helps create more jobs in their communities, and makes it easier for them to do their taxes,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex. in a statement. “It also reins in the IRS and protects taxpayers from waste and fraud within the large tax credit programs administered by the IRS.”
The package revives over 50 tax provisions: some permanently, such as the research credit, Code Sec. 179 expensing and the Child Tax Credit; others for five years, such as bonus depreciation; and over 25 other provisions through 2016. The bill also includes over 60 other provisions on miscellaneous topics, including real estate investment trusts, tax administration and more. Overall, the PATH Bill calls for making permanent over 20 tax-extender benefits, split 50-50 between business and individuals.
House Ways and Means ranking member Sander Levin, D-Mich., criticized the measure, saying the price was “too high” and would increase the deficit as none of the provisions are paid for. “This bill is a piecemeal approach to tax reform,” said Levin from the House floor. “It is the opposite of what was done by former Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, who kept some provisions, changed some, ended some like bonus depreciation, and paid for his revenue-neutral comprehensive tax reform proposal.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also weighed in, saying: “[t]he Chamber has been urging Congress to make permanent many of these perennially renewed tax provisions for years, if not decades. The Chamber applauds Congress for finally acting to provide long-term certainty for the business community. This accomplishment cannot be overstated.”
By Jeff Carlson, Wolters Kluwer News Staff
Ways and Means Press Release: Brady Praises House Passage of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015
Ways and Means Press Release: Brady Highlights How the PATH Act Helps American Taxpayers
Ways and Means Press Release: Levin Floor Statement on $622 Billion Tax Extenders Package
JCT Technical Explanation of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, House Amendment #2 to the Senate Amendment to HR 2029 (Rules Committee Print 114-40), JCX-144-15
Continuing Appropriations Act, 2016, Enrolled, as Signed by the President on December 16, 2015, P.L. 114-100