GOP tax-writers to examine tax extenders

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are interested in both tax reform and in examining the tax extenders. In all, dozens of tax provisions expired at the end of last year, including preferences for research and development, alternative energy and college tuition.

ADVERTISEMENT
Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, pressed for extending the provisions sooner rather than later.

“As we prepare for tax reform, it will be important for us to examine these provisions to determine whether we are getting the most bang for our buck,” Baucus said in a Senate colloquy entered into the Congressional Record. “Tax reform, however, will take time and these provisions have already expired. We should provide certainty to taxpayers by extending them through this year as soon as possible.”

Baucus and Reid were among the Democrats who pressed to include expired provisions in the payroll tax cut extension that Congress enacted last month. With the extenders still lapsed, some Washington observers believe lawmakers will now wait to deal with them until the lame-duck session after November’s election.

For his part, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), in the colloquy with Baucus and Reid, said that lawmakers had too frequently extended the provisions without any thought, and said GOP senators had some concerns about some of the lapsed preferences.

Doug Shulman, the IRS commissioner, also urged lawmakers on Thursday to act on the extenders one way or the other by the end of the year, to diminish any disturbances on next year’s tax filing season.

—This post was updated at 10:30 a.m. on March 23.