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Tax Extenders Debate Gets Political, Parochial Tax Extenders Debate Gets Political, Parochial

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Tax Extenders Debate Gets Political, Parochial

AP120217014204.jpgWell, that didn't take long. 
Less than 24 hours after the Senate Finance Committee's bipartisan warm and fuzzy fest over the tax extender package, lawmakers were back to good old fashioned politicking. 
Playing  the role of obstructionist, Republican Sen. Tom Coburn on Wednesday threatened to kill today's mark-up in order to have more time to review the bill. 
Meanwhile, top Democratic partisan Sen. Chuck Schumer was already casting the package as a political win for Democrats. He credited Democrats for pushing through a patch to the alternative minimum tax, adding another spoke to the party's save-the-middle-class rhetoric, and potentially ticking off another item from the lame duck's lengthy to-do list.
"Republicans had been trying to hold AMT relief out as leverage for the lame-duck negotiations," Schumer said. "Their plot was to dangle the threat of a clobbering tax hike on the middle class to bait Democrats into accepting an unbalanced, year-end deal. That plan won't work once AMT relief is approved."
Even Finance Committee members went political and parochial as evidenced by some of the amendments they are expected to introduce at Thursday morning's mark-up: 
--Reinstating tax credits for American Samoa economic development. 
--Credits for renewable electricity production and the training of mine safety rescue teams.

-- The Motorsports Fairness Amendment, which would permanently extend the 7-year depreciation treatment for motorsports entertainment complexes until 2013 and ensure motorsports companies can "plan significant investments in the future."
This is the same committee, mind you, that sent out a press release earlier this week bragging about cutting 25 percent of the business-as-usual tax extenders from its legislation. 
By Thursday morning, the committee had whittled down its amendments to 11 from a much lengthier roster of more than 100 that had circulated Wednesday -- a move that demonstrates the seriousness of this week's negotiations. Still, there are no plans to pay for any of the package with budget offsets.

The Senate Finance Committee mark-up this morning will be closely watched, particularly now that the House got its symbolic tax cut legislation out of the way. But, it may be too soon to tout this extender package as comprehensive tax reform's on ramp, especially since any overhaul of the code is meant to junk these kind of tax breaks rather than protect them like precious jewels.

This post has been updated to reflect the new amendment roster circulated Thursday morning. 

Photo: Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., comments to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on Friday, Feb. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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