Senate Finance panel Republicans reiterated their call Friday for a mark-up of expiring tax provisions, specifically the Bush-era tax cuts.
In a letter to Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today, Republicans asked for a September meeting and noted that they are sticking with their previous agreement to limit their amendments and focus on tax-related issues.
At a July 22 panel meeting, Republicans, led by Senate Finance ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), said Baucus agreed to take up the tax issues in committee, including expired tax provisions such as the research and development tax credit, an estate tax compromise and energy taxes, the letter said.
Republicans said in return they would "refrain from offering amendments that would introduce extraneous matters like corporate tax reform."
The White House's plan, championed by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, is to continue middle class tax cuts and allow tax cuts to expire for the nation's wealthiest 2 percent.
Some Democratic senators, including Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), have suggested continuing all tax cuts while the economy continues recovering from a protracted recession.
House and Senate Republicans have crafted their election-season rhetoric around the tax cuts, saying that Americans could face the biggest tax increase in history if the tax cuts are allowed to expire.
Grassley has expressed concern that the Senate Democratic leadership could hijack the tax proceedings if the panel doesn't produce a bill.
"It would be a mistake for the Senate to consider such an important piece of tax legislation without its having first been marked up by the Finance Committee," Republicans wrote. "The committee process would provide the members the ability to use the committee's collective expertise to produce a consensus product that is the result of a deliberative process rather than a partisan bill that is hastily written behind closed doors."
Republicans also requested a "substantive amendment process" on the Senate floor.
"We believe the Finance Committee's central role in crafting tax policy can be restored and pledge to work together in a bipartisan manner to prevent the draconian tax hikes that will result if we fail to act," the letter said.