Tax extenders bill hits snag

Senate Republicans vote against closing debate on bill after Democrats failed to allow for debates on Republican amendments.

This week the full U.S. Senate began consideration of its tax extenders package passed by the Senate Finance Committee in April, but the bipartisan bill turned partisan when amendments were limited during floor debate.


The tax extenders package includes a two-year extension of the $1 per gallon biodiesel tax incentive, and a reinstatement of the pre-2014 expensing amounts for farm infrastructure and equipment under Section 179.

The bill passed unanimously out of committee with strong bipartisan support, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) blocked Republican amendments. Thursday a vote failed 53-40 to close debate on the bill.


The first procedural motion passed easily earlier in the week to allow the Senate to move to debate on a bill (HR 3474) that would be the vehicle for the Senate tax extenders bill (S 2260). Revenue measures must originate in the House of Representatives, thus the Senate must attach the tax extenders to a bill that came from the House.


However, efforts by some Senators who oppose the measure, or wish to offer amendments, continue to pose a threat to the bill going forward, the American Soybean Assn. reported.


One dispute centers on whether the cost of extending the tax credits should be offset with funding cuts or increased revenues elsewhere. The Senate has been stalled by procedural battles on other measures as well, as Senators seek to offer and vote on amendments addressing contentious and often unrelated issues.


The biodiesel tax credit expired on Dec. 31, 2013 and the biodiesel industry’s production has stalled in the absence of this tax credit, ASA added.


The reinstatement of Section 179 expensing at previous levels would enable farmers and other small business owners to expense investments made in new technology, equipment and infrastructure in their operations.


“Given the land-based and capital-intensive nature of farming, not to mention the ever-advancing technology we need to farm sustainably and competitively, this program helps us to stay on the cutting edge of our industry,” ASA said.

On the House side, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), is planning to address the extenders individually rather than as a package. The fate of the biodiesel tax credit under this process is uncertain.


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