House Democrats push bonus depreciation bill

The House included bonus depreciation as part of its December payroll tax cut bill, but the measure was removed during a conference with the Senate. 

The Ways and Means panel and Senate Finance Committee are in the process of determining what tax extenders to include in a package, which is expected to cost tens of billions. 

The measure, introduced on Wednesday by 14 Ways and Means Committee Democrats and Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), is the first in a series of so-called No Excuses legislation to promote economic growth that the lawmakers plan to introduce before the August recess.

Their goal, they said, is to push House Republicans to act on jobs legislation. 

Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio), the chairman of the Ways and Means subcommittee that deals with taxes, told reporters after a hearing recently that a vote on a pared-down extenders package would probably be delayed until the lame duck and would not be included as part of an extension of all the Bush-era tax rates. 

Top Senate Democrats like Finance Chairman Max Baucus (Mont.) have called for quickly extending expired provisions.

Some tax experts have suggested breaking out the extenders by industry and where there is broad agreement, an idea that was well-received by some House lawmakers, including Tiberi. 

"This bill can be passed tomorrow if our Republican colleagues would stop playing politics and start focusing on measures that would actually help the American people,” said Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) told reporters.

“This legislation, supported by Republicans in the past, does just that. It frees up capital for businesses to invest and create jobs without adding a single penny to the deficit," he said. 

Democrats suggest paying for the roughly $5 billion cost of the measure by ending tax breaks to oil-and-gas companies, a move unlikely to garner any Republican support.

Levin said he is open to discussing options with Republicans on pay-fors if they are willing to take up the measure as soon as possible. 

“Paying for it by ending oil and gas subsidies simply makes the most sense — it would end a tax subsidy that does nothing to increase job growth in order to extend one that will help put Americans back to work," Van Hollen said. 

"This legislation will help create jobs by boosting business investment in a way that won’t add to the deficit, and there are no excuses for not moving it forward.”

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) expressed his support for the bill.

"These bills will show that Republicans have no more excuses to delay work on legislation that will grow our economy, provide greater certainty for businesses, and help create jobs for Americans that won’t be shipped overseas," he said. 

"I urge Republicans to stop wasting time on partisan message bills, and work with us on these bills."