By Jay Heflin - 04/13/10 11:38 PM EDT
How to pay for the measures is arguably the biggest hurdle to completing work on them.
The recent enactment of several bills, including health care, have reduced the number of offsets that enjoyed broad, bipartisan support. Lawmakers are now tasked with locating offsets that at least 60 senators can agree to.
One possible offset is ending the carried interest loophole that taxes investment compensation at lower capital gains tax rates instead of higher marginal rates. Lawmakers, like Levin, have sought to tax these payments as ordinary income for years, but the Senate has resisted the notion.
Levin said House and Senate staffers are combing through the extender packages that passed their respective chambers in search of tax cuts that are in both bills.
Measures that are contained in the bills will remain in the package. It is unclear how the other provisions will be treated.
"Those that are not common will be reviewed by the staff and then by the members," Levin said.
After lawmakers tackle the jobs and extender bill, they must turn their attention to extending at least part of the tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush. They must also come to some agreement on the estate tax. Both are thorny issues since extending them could require offsets.
"The Bush tax cuts and the estate tax remain a major, major challenge to this institution," Levin said.
The Chairman said absent a new budget resolution, changes to the Bush tax cuts and the estate tax will require 60 votes in the Senate.
Lobbyists told The Hill that a budget amendment might be in the works that would circumvent paygo or budget rules, at least temporarily.
Congress must also extend middle class relief from the Alternative Minimum Tax. The last extension expired in 2009 and a one-year extension of the provision costs roughly $70 billion, which could require offsets.