Senate approves R&D tax credit

A research-and-development tax credit is one step closer to the president's desk, following Tuesday's Senate vote on a jobless benefits package.

Lawmakers approved their collection of tax extenders on a 62-36 vote late Tuesday, including a one-year continuation of the much-beloved R&D break.

That means only the House now stands in the way of a tax credit that tech insiders have aggressively lobbied Congress to reinstate since it expired at the end of 2009.

Technology trade groups estimated this month that the loss of that R&D credit forced the industry to shed 20,000 jobs and $2.5 billion in economic gains, and deprived the federal government of more than $2 billion in revenue.

Consequently, tech groups quickly praised the Senate's vote to revive that credit on Tuesday, and they implored House lawmakers to follow suit. But many also urged lawmakers to consider a more permanent R&D tax credit, rather than the one-year patch they have allowed to expire 14 times over the past 30 years.

"This annual uncertainty of this credit hampers the ability of U.S. businesses to plan the future road map of the products they create to keep us on the cutting edge of global competitiveness," TechNet President and CEO Rey Ramsey said in a statement before the bill passed.