Senate Finance inches toward extenders vote

The Senate Finance Committee is moving toward extending a slew of expired tax breaks next month, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

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The Finance panel is “on track” for an early April vote, but “no formal date” has been set, said the spokeswoman, Lindsey Held.

Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who took over the gavel in February, has said for weeks that he wanted to move quickly on the expired provisions, commonly known as extenders.

More than 50 incentives expired at the end of last year, including a popular credit for research and development and key preferences for alternative energy that Wyden has said he wants to see extended. Other extenders are derided as corporate giveaways, such as incentives for NASCAR tracks and Puerto Rican rum distillers.

Extending all the expired provisions would cost in the neighborhood of $50 billion for one year, but key tax writers have said that they would want to see some provisions left out of any new package.

“When it comes to tax extenders, Senator Hatch believes there’s a lot of fat that needs to be cut and that Congress should not continue to deal with them in a business as usual manner,” said Julia Lawless, a spokeswoman for Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), the top Republican on the Finance panel.

“A committee markup would provide an opportunity to expose these provisions to scrutiny and sunlight. While Senator Hatch is working with Chairman Wyden on how to best move forward, no final decisions have been made on the timing or the details of the policy.”

Hatch and the previous Finance chairman, former Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), crafted a bipartisan extenders package in 2012 that was eventually tacked on to the so-called “fiscal cliff” deal.

On the other side of the Capitol, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), who recently released a broad tax reform draft, has yet to show much interest in an extenders package.

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