Coburn willing to block extenders markup

The Oklahoma Republican also has amendments to ensure that dead people and prisoners cannot benefit from the extenders package, and to only allow the extenders to go into effect when the annual federal deficit dips below $1 trillion. 

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Baucus, when asked about a potential delay on Wednesday, responded: “We’re planning to have a markup tomorrow.” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has also said that he expects the package to easily pass the committee.

If the 48-hour rule is not waived, Finance could still hold a markup on Friday. But with a five-week recess looming, lawmakers could also be anxious to head out of Washington. 

A senior Senate aide also slammed Coburn on Wednesday, suggesting the Oklahoma Republican was trying to undercut a rare example of bipartisan cooperation on Capitol Hill.

“It’s unfortunate that the senator from Oklahoma feels the need to bog down this legislation — for which there is widespread agreement — so that the spotlight can shine on him,” the staffer said. “He is delaying real, bipartisan progress. This bill can show the American people there are still members of Congress that can work together to get things done.”  

Still, Coburn has made a name for himself in the Senate — and the nickname “Dr. No” — by blocking bills, even some that have bipartisan backing. 

The Oklahoma senator has also expressed concern that extending expired or expiring tax breaks could further delay a broad overhaul of the tax code, and has said that the tax code is already riddled with spending programs masquerading as tax cuts. 

But Baucus and Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), the Finance Committee’s ranking Republican, have said the extenders agreement was the sort of bipartisan cooperation that would be needed to deal with the fiscal cliff, and Hatch called it a first step to tax reform.

Hatch and Baucus also noted that the panel had agreed to pare down the measure by killing a quarter of the expired and expiring provisions.

As currently written, the extenders package would cost just over $150 billion over a decade, with two-thirds of that coming from a proposal to shield more middle-class families from the Alternative Minimum Tax for a year. 

Democrats called the inclusion of the so-called AMT patch a win for them, while Republicans were able to keep out provisions from the 2009 stimulus package that they said were historically not included in extenders agreements. 

Supporters of a production tax credit valued by the wind industry have also said they will push to include that break, which is currently not in the extenders package. The credit will expire at year’s end, without congressional action.

Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee for president, came out against the production tax credit this week, which could make it more difficult for congressional Republicans to support extending it. 

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said that discussions over the credit were “fluid,” and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were seeking a solution.

Coburn's amendments also include proposals to limit the production tax credit, by reducing the amount recpients would receive. Bloomberg first reported that Coburn was willing to block Thursday's markup.

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