(By Kelsey Snell and Nancy Cook)
Senate Finance Committee members met on Monday evening to work on a bipartisan deal to pass a package of expired and expiring tax breaks and benefits that in most years gets renewed with little fanfare or controversy.
The legislation could include a two-year, retroactive extension of the more than 60 tax breaks and benefits that expired in 2011 and a one-year patch for those expiring in 2012, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. One proposal would continue only the traditional extenders without any budget offsets, as has been typical. That could allow lawmakers to put off the difficult process of potentially paring down special-interest tax breaks until 2013 as a prelude to tax reform. But conflicts over additional provisions have complicated the negotiations, according to aides.
Senators failed to reach agreement on Monday but will try again Tuesday afternoon, according to a source familiar with the talks.
A deal within committee could set the Senate at odds with House Republicans, who have laid the groundwork to make deep cuts to the package of nearly 100 so-called tax extenders during the anticipated lame-duck session. Any Senate legislation on the extenders is likely to be dead on arrival in the House, but a committee-approved bill could give the Senate the upper hand when real negotiations begin after the November general election.
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Senate Finance committee chairman, Sen. Walter Stosch, R-Henrico, laments the failure of both budget conferences reports to pass the Senate after the vote at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, April 17, 2012. The Senate failed to pass the budget. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)