Hatch demands amendments to tax extender bill

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to allow amendments to a tax extender bill the Senate is considering.

“There is a time to fill the [amendment] tree but that’s only after a full debate,” Hatch said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “I have a number of amendments I would like to offer myself.”

Hatch, who serves as ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, supports the Senate tax bill, but said the tax code is too important of an issue to not have a full debate on amendments from both sides.

Republicans have criticized Reid for blocking all amendment votes, saying he’s doing it so members of his party don’t have to take tough votes ahead of their reelection campaigns. A fight over amendments killed a bipartisan energy efficiency bill earlier this week.

Hatch said Republicans are being “disrespected” by the way Reid is running the Senate.

“I think our side is being disrespected the way the Senate is being handled today,” Hatch said. “Let’s allow members of both parties to offer amendments.”

Later Wednesday, the Senate is expected to adopt the motion to proceed to H.R. 3473, which is being used as a vehicle for the tax extenders package. On Tuesday, the Senate voted 96-3 to end debate on the motion to proceed to the bill.

There is bipartisan support for the $85 billion tax bill, which would extend more than 50 tax credits for two years so lawmakers can work on a more permanent fix. But if Reid again blocks amendments, Republicans could block progress on the bill.

Republicans have already suggested amendments, such as repealing the medical device tax that was part of the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare. 

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