The Senate Finance Committee approved the extension of a collection of expired and expiring tax provisions on Thursday, but the bill’s prospects of actually saving the tax breaks are bleak.
Quick resolution is unlikely, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle want to use the breaks as bargaining chips in the upcoming fiscal-cliff debate.
Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., hopes the Senate takes up the package “soon,” but given that only six Republicans voted for it in committee, it could face long odds on the Senate floor.
The package includes a patch for the Alternative Minimum Tax, and breaks for wind producers and small businesses.
The extenders are a collection of more than 100 highly specific breaks and benefits, all of which enjoy the backing of passionate advocates. Traditionally, the provisions are extended with minimal fuss, but the looming fight over the George W. Bush-era tax cuts, the looming sequester, and the possibility of another debt-limit fight have turned every tax provision into a controversy.
The House is on a different course, as Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., says he will complete his own review of the breaks.
"We talk,” Baucus said of Camp. “We compare notes. I have a high regard for Chairman Camp, and I think he’s very amenable to what we’re trying to do. He appreciates it very much because it helps the whole larger effort.”