R&D tax credit extension within reach

A tax credit for companies who hire research and development workers is one step closer to being extended by Congress.

The tax extenders package that has been making its way through the Senate will finally get a vote this week. Today the Senate voted to stop debate on the package, which also extends unemployment insurance through the end of the year.

The technology industry has been lobbying mightily to get get the R&D tax credit reinstated. Tech trade groups, manufacturers and companies ultimately want to see the R&D tax credit extended indefinitely to give firms more certainty when hiring workers and investing in new products.

The tax credit expired at the end of 2009, causing the loss of jobs and revenue, the groups say.

The tax credit extender package has already passed the House.

"This is one more step forward as we fight to get the American people back to work and support families that have been the hardest hit by the economic crisis," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement. "The president is grateful to members of both parties that helped move forward on this bill."