Grassley, Wyden offer bill to renew expired tax breaks

Grassley, Wyden offer bill to renew expired tax breaks
© Stefani Reynolds

Senate Finance Committee leadership on Thursday offered a bill to renew a host of tax breaks that expired at the end of 2017 and 2018.

The legislation, from Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyUS, Mexico set for new post-NAFTA trade era Senators press IRS chief on stimulus check pitfalls GOP skeptical of polling on Trump MORE (R-Iowa) and ranking member Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Democratic proposal to extend 0 unemployment checks Senate Democrats offer plan to extend added jobless benefits during pandemic Hillicon Valley: Facebook takes down 'boogaloo' network after pressure | Election security measure pulled from Senate bill | FCC officially designating Huawei, ZTE as threats MORE (D-Ore.), comes as taxpayers seek certainty in this year's filings about the expired provisions.

Grassley and Wyden said they did not favor Congress's habit of retroactively extending the tax breaks, known as "extenders," adding that they wanted lawmakers to act promptly on their bill given the filing season is already underway.

ADVERTISEMENT

Grassley made his argument while displaying a picture from the movie "Groundhog Day," in which the main character relives the same day repeatedly, during a speech from the Senate floor Thursday.

"The whole point of these federal tax incentives is to encourage certain behaviors, especially investments in alternative energies, energy efficiency and transportation. The best way to do that is ahead of time, not retroactively,” Grassley said in a statement.

“But it’s also the case that many of these industries made business decisions last year based on that reasonable expectation that they would be extended since it’s what Congress has consistently done in the past," he added.

Wyden added that “it’s past time to kick the addiction to short-term tax policies, but until Congress is able to break this cycle for good, taxpayers deserve certainty about what they’ll owe.”

The bill would retroactively renew about 30 tax breaks through 2019. Most of them expired in 2017, while a few of them expired in 2018.

One of the tax provisions that would be renewed allows more people to claim the medical expense deduction. Others pertain to industries including renewable energy, horse racing and motorsports. 

The bill also includes provisions to provide tax relief to individuals and businesses affected by major disasters in 2018.