Certain Tax Extenders Included in Senate Budget Bill; House Approval Remains Uncertain

The Senate on February 8 was preparing to vote on the Bipartisan Budget Bill. This bill would provide funding for the federal government through March 23. At press time, the Senate vote had been delayed. Current funding for the government and federal agencies is set to expire on February 9 at midnight.

House Approval Remains Uncertain

The Senate is expected to approve the measure. It will next head to the House, with only hours left before government funding expires, where it has already been criticized by both Republicans and Democrats. At press time, House approval remains uncertain.

Tax Extenders Included

Under the Senate’s budget proposal, nearly thirty expired tax breaks would be extended for the 2017 tax year. However, including tax extenders in the continuing resolution to fund the government has not been supported by top House lawmakers. The proposed tax extenders include breaks for certain energy investments, short-line railroads, private mortgage insurance, motorsport complexes and thoroughbred horses. Additionally, the proposal includes tax breaks for those affected by the California wildfires.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Tex., told reporters earlier in the week that he is “not a fan” of tax extenders and that discussions were still ongoing as to whether such extensions of certain tax breaks should be addressed in the continuing resolution. However, he may now support their inclusion for the 2017 tax year, a Ways and Means spokesperson alluded.

“Taking care of these [tax extenders] as quickly as possible gives the IRS time to be ready for tax filing season and prevents filing issues for taxpayers. So now we have addressed the extenders under the old tax code – and Members can move forward with a clean slate and ask themselves: What role should extenders play under our new tax code,” a Ways and Means spokesperson told Wolters Kluwer on February 8. Hearings on the matter are expected in the near future, according to Ways and Means Tax Policy Subcommittee Chair Vern Buchanan, R-Fla.

Mixed Reaction

Although the Bipartisan Budget Bill is the product of negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., it does not appear to be receiving a warm welcome in the House. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have criticized the measure. Several fiscal hawk Republicans are unhappy with its costly financial implications for the federal deficit. Meanwhile, Democrats are dissatisfied because it does not include certain protections for immigrants. At press time, the bipartisan bill did not appear to have the requisite Republican votes in the House. Therefore, it would need Democratic support for approval.

By Jessica Jeane, Wolters Kluwer News Staff

Tax-Related Portions of the Legislative Language of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018

JCT Estimated Budget Effects of the Revenue Provisions Contained in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, JCX-4-18

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