The House has approved tax extenders legislation that makes a number of the periodically expiring tax breaks into permanent features of the tax code.
Among the provisions that would be made permanent are the enhanced Child Tax Credit, the enhanced American Opportunity Tax Credit, the enhanced Earned Income Tax Credit, the above-the-line deduction for teachers who buy school supplies, the charitable deduction of contributions of real property for conservation purposes, along with the Research & Development Tax Credit and Section 179 expensing (see Congress Makes Some Tax Extenders Permanent).
The legislation passed by a vote Thursday of 318 to 109 and is expected to be approved swiftly by the Senate this week.
“Today, the House took a pivotal step towards rewriting our broken tax code by ending Washington's days of extending tax policies one year at a time,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., in a statement. “This package of permanent extenders will shield families from a tax hike and provide businesses with greater economic certainty to grow and prosper, which means higher wages and more full-time jobs for American workers. It also includes several bipartisan reforms to rein in the IRS, such as firing employees who target taxpayers based on their personal religious or political beliefs. As I’ve said before, comprehensive tax reform is essential to restoring a more confident America, and that’s why it will be central to our bold, pro-growth agenda in 2016. I commend Chairman Brady and the entire Ways and Means Committee for their work on this important measure.”
House Ways and Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, also praised passage of the bill. “Today we’ve acted to help millions of Americans keep more of their hard earned money and have more certainty when they do their taxes,” he said. “By solving these decades-old problems now, we have even more momentum to pass pro-growth tax reform that will boost our economy, help create more jobs and fix our broken tax code.”
Some lawmakers were opposed to high cost of the bill, which is estimated to add over $600 billion to the national debt.
“This bill contains a number of polices that I have long supported, and it even includes a conservation provision that I’ve championed since coming to Congress,” said Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif. “The fact that I’m voting against today’s bill, speaks volumes to just how fiscally reckless this legislation is. We should enact polices like conservation easements and the R&D Tax Credit. They’re good for our country. But we can’t do it by forcing our kids and grandkids to foot a nearly $700 billion bill.”
“This bill adds $622 billion to the deficit, the vast majority of which is through permanent tax provisions," said Rep. Sander Levin, D-MIch., the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee. “For those whose purpose is to have the increase in the deficit continue to drive down non-defense spending, this bill will almost certainly accomplish this. Non-defense discretionary spending will already fall by FY17 to its lowest level as a share of the economy since 1962. These cuts seriously threaten programs that assist the middle class or those striving to reach the middle class – programs like Headstart and Pell Grants, and in job training and basic health research."
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