Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden is continuing to speak with Republicans about a list of possible amendments for the bipartisan tax-extenders package, but the prospects that Democratic leaders would bring the bill to the floor again soon look unlikely.
Asked Tuesday whether lawmakers would get a package to the floor this month, Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin sounded pessimistic. "This month comes to a close with our departure on Thursday afternoon. So not likely," Durbin said. "It doesn't look like there's any time left for it."
The committee's extenders package stalled on the floor last week when Republicans blocked Majority Leader Harry Reid's cloture motion to end debate. They cited Reid's repeated efforts to fill the amendment tree, thereby blocking them from offering amendments.
Reid said he remains open to amendments, but rejected any measures that would touch the Affordable Care Act, like one offered last week by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania that would repeal the medical-device tax included in the law.
"The Republicans can't get out of their head Obamacare," Reid said. "That's an Obamacare amendment. We're not going to do that. They can have as many amendments as practical to change the bill that's on the floor, and there's plenty of amendments that need to be offered on that. We have a lot on our side."
This article appears in the May 21, 2014 edition of NJ Daily.