Baucus: Bank tax in financial reform is unlikely to happen

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on Tuesday told The Hill that he did not believe his chamber had the 60 votes needed to include a bank tax in the financial reform bill currently being debated on the floor. 

"I don't think it has 60 votes on this bill," he said. 

Baucus hosted a hearing on the bank tax earlier today that included testimony from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. The secretary urged lawmakers to include the levy in the financial reform bill. 

However, Baucus told The Hill the prospect of that occurring was unlikely given the fact that the reform bill did not originate in the House. 

"It's not an H.R. bill," he said. "It would have to be blue slipped."   

The term "blue slip" refers to senators using a bill that originated in the House as a vehicle for their legislation. 

Congressional rules require that tax legislation originate in the House, which would make it an H.R. bill. 

The financial reform bill was created in the Senate. That means to incorporate the bank tax into the legislation senators would have to use an H.R. bill, which Baucus indicated would not happen.

Beyond that, Baucus also indicated it would be tough to win political support for the tax in the Senate.

Several members of his panel on Tuesday questioned Geithner about whether the tax would hurt businesses by limiting credit.