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Senators call for passage of bill to cement alcohol excise tax relief

Senators call for passage of bill to cement alcohol excise tax relief
© Bonnie Cash

A bipartisan group of more than 50 senators is urging leaders of the chamber to pass legislation that would make permanent excise tax relief for brewers, winemakers and distillers.

"As businesses struggle to retain workers and stay open, allowing the current rates to lapse would force many businesses across the county to lay off workers or close their doors permanently," the senators wrote in a letter Tuesday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure 100 business executives discuss how to combat new voting rules: report Arkansas governor says 'divisive' Trump attacks on GOP officials are 'unhelpful' MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerNY Times beclowns itself by normalizing court-packing 'to balance the conservative majority' The first Southern state legalizes marijuana — what it means nationally H.R. 1/S. 1: Democrats defend their majorities, not honest elections MORE (D-N.Y.). 

President TrumpDonald TrumpGaetz was denied meeting with Trump: CNN Federal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Police in California city declare unlawful assembly amid 'white lives matter' protest MORE's 2017 tax-cut law provided excise tax reductions for two years for producers of beer, wine and spirits. The tax relief was extended through 2020 as part of government funding legislation last year, and is currently set to expire at the end of the year if Congress does not take action.

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A bill to indefinitely extend the tax reductions, called the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, has widespread support in Congress and is sponsored by about 350 House members and three-quarters of all senators. But it's unclear whether Congress will consider any tax legislation in the lame-duck session.

The senators said in Tuesday's letter that it's important that the craft beverage bill be included "in the next appropriate legislative package and acted upon before the end of the year."

They noted that there are beverage alcohol production businesses in every state, and that those businesses are partners with businesses in the agriculture, hospitality and manufacturing sectors. The senators also said that alcohol producers have seen "dramatic declines in revenue" as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

"With the economic duress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, producers' businesses have been devastated which would be compounded by an increase in their federal excise taxes," they wrote.

Signers of the letter include Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenThe first Southern state legalizes marijuana — what it means nationally A bold fix for US international taxation of corporations Democrats offer competing tax ideas on Biden infrastructure MORE (D-Ore.), the lead sponsor of the craft beverage bill, and Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP Ohio Senate candidate asked to leave RNC retreat To encourage innovation, Congress should pass two bills protecting important R&D tax provision The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings MORE (R-Ohio), who also serves on the Finance Committee.

The letter comes as business groups have also been escalating their efforts to push for an extension of the excise tax reductions.