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Tax Credits Blog

If you want WOTC to continue, now is the time to act

November 5, 2014

 

What happens to WOTC and other tax extenders now is up to Senator McConnell and Speaker Boehner—we’ll know their minds soon because they can’t duck a decision at this date.  McConnell and Boehner need to get the extenders out of the way so they can start the new Congress  with a big push on tax reform and other Republican priorities.

Senior staffs are still assuring everyone an extenders bill will be top priority when Congress returns on November 12th.  That’s a frail basis for optimism because the two leaders who count haven’t decided the route they’ll take to get an extenders bill through the House.  It isn’t a slam-dunk because many House conservatives oppose extenders as “special interest” carve-outs adding $700 billion to the deficit over ten years.

 

The fastest route is for the House to pass the Senate EXPIRE bill—this works best for WOTC, but House leaders will have to corral Republicans who object to the Senate package as crony capitalism and a deficit raiser. 

 

Another route is for McConnell and Boehner to negotiate a package the House will agree to.  This poses a danger—the House might insist on passing only a handful of “must-do” extenders like the mortgage relief exclusion, state sales tax deduction, R&D, etc, and defer the remainder to a tax reform bill that won’t be voted till July at the earliest.  If they start negotiating, we’ve got to assure WOTC is on their “must-do” list.

 

Senator McConnell has always voted for the full package of EXPIRE extenders and went to the floor not long ago to support them publicly.  On the other hand, Speaker Boehner and Chairman Camp support some extenders and not others—they’ve already passed bills making permanent fifteen extenders they support, and WOTC isn’t one of them.

 

The political difficulty is that Speaker Boehner has to placate members who complain regularly that extenders are a boondoggle, crony capitalism, and a drain on Federal revenue.  He won’t chance a split in his caucus after a successful election and leadership contests ahead in January, so culling the list of extenders, lowering their cost, and telling his members, “This tax extenders bill will be the last” (due to tax reform) could happen.

In sum, we have to work plenty hard starting now to get Senate Republicans to join with Democrats to pass the bi-partisan EXPIRE bill when they return, and House Republicans to pass the Senate bill when it comes before them.  By going all-out to press the case for passing EXPIRE “as is” in both houses, we’ll have the best chance of forestalling a negotiation that might not turn out in our favor.

 

PAUL E SUPLIZIO

President, WOTC Coalition

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