Hatch Defers on Extenders, Near-Term Vote Unlikely

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Sept. 10 — Congressional action on extenders isn't coming anytime soon, despite broad business community outreach pushing renewal as soon as possible.

Lawmakers are too tied up with legislation related to the Iran nuclear deal and a fight over funding the government to focus on the dozens of expired tax breaks for individuals and businesses, so much so that the Senate's top tax writer is deferring to his majority leader on a timeline for moving his extenders bill.

“We passed it out of committee, so it's up to the leader when he wants to do that,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) told Bloomberg BNA. “I think he's been so concerned with this matter on the floor right now,” Hatch said, referring to the Iran nuclear bill.

The Senate Finance Committee approved a two-year, retroactive renewal of 52 extenders July 21 (140 DTR G-3, 7/22/15).

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) hasn't given any indication as to when he will take up the extenders bill. Congress has a raft of must-pass legislation coming in the next few months, including one to fund the government, another to support the Highway Trust Fund and a third to raise the debt limit. An extenders bill could ride with one of those, but many, including Hatch, oppose that idea.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has said he wants to address tax extenders in the current work period, which began Sept. 8. Committee Republicans have said they will continue to push for bills making individual extenders permanent, contrary to the Senate Finance Committee's strategy.

NAM Letter

The indecision in Washington has only made calls from the private and non-profit sectors for a long-term extenders solution grow louder.

A coalition of thousands of companies headed by the National Association of Manufacturers and the Broad Tax Extenders Coalition sent a letter to Congress Sept. 10 calling for an extenders bill to move soon.

“Failure to extend these provisions is a tax increase,” the letter said. “It will inject instability and uncertainty into the economy and weaken confidence in the employment marketplace.”

With assistance from Aaron E. Lorenzo in Washington.

To contact the reporter on this story: Casey Wooten in Washington at cwooten@bna.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brett Ferguson at bferguson@bna.com