December 08, 2013
BY SARAH OGDEN
The $700 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (H.R. 1424) passed Congress and was signed into law on October 3, following a week-long battle that highlighted procedural tension between the House and Senate. The controversial financial bailout package, wildly unpopular with voters, also includes numerous tax provisions that have been a source of conflict between the Senate and House for the past two years.
The disagreement between the House and Senate centers around the deficit: The House and its fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats have argued that business and individual tax-break extensions should be fully offset, while Senate Republicans argue against what they see as increasing other taxes to account for extending current tax policies. (Senate Democrats could not muster enough votes to break a Republican filibuster on the issue.)
To overcome opposition in the House—and bucking tradition, which gives the House authority over tax-writing—the Senate passed its own tax legislation, then forced the House to act on the provisions by rolling them into the financial bailout bill. The House reluctantly accepted the Senate's proposal as the price for clearing the bill, but House members have expressed concern over this break in protocol.
The tax portion of the bill, which includes $150.5 billion in total tax breaks and $43.5 billion in offsets over the next 10 years, extends dozens of expired and expiring tax breaks for businesses and individuals; offers incentives for renewable energy; provides relief to individuals and areas affected by natural disasters; and includes a one-year "patch" to the alternative minimum tax to prevent it from reaching an additional 22 million taxpayers.
Three provisions are particularly relevant:
Strengthening private investment in research and development is crucial to American competitiveness. NSPE is a member of the R&D Credit Coalition, a group of more than 100 associations and companies that collectively represent millions of American workers engaged in U.S.-based research. In coordination with the coalition, NSPE joined 680 organizations—including the American Council of Engineering Companies and the American Institute of Architects—
The Senate will return for a lame-duck session the week of November 17, when they will take up a package of public-land bills. The House has neither scheduled nor ruled out a lame-duck session.
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