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Bare-Minimum Tax Break Plan in the House

(posted: December 6th, 2014)

With lawmakers having abandoned efforts to reach a broader deal on reviving tax breaks that would have exceeded $400 billion over a decade, the House has voted in favor of a "bare minimum" tax break package that provides $42 billion in temporary relief to individuals and corporations.

The measure, passed on a 378-46 vote, revives more than 50 lapsed tax breaks only to the end of this year, avoiding delays in refunds for taxpayers but leaving things unclear for 2015.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, told reporters that the U.S. Senate wouldn't amend the bill, setting the stage for an up-or-down vote, probably this week.

The disappointment in the bill was bipartisan. "This legislation is no solution to the challenges we face in America's tax system," Rep. Tom Price, a Republican from Georgia, told Bloomberg. "It simply buys more time for Congress to forge a long-term agreement on these specific items -- some of which should not be extended in the future -- and, more importantly, on fundamental tax reform."

President Barack Obama said the administration is open to a short-term extension. He hasn't said whether he would sign the House bill.

The tax breaks, which lapsed Dec. 31, 2013, aid businesses and individuals, providing incentives for business research and helping school teachers and distressed homeowners.

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