House approves tax package

From NAM’s Manufacturing Economy Daily

In a 318 -109 vote on Thursday, the House approved the first portion of the year-end budget deal, a “huge package of tax breaks for businesses and low-income workers,” the New York Times (12/18, Herszenhorn, Subscription Publication) reports.

Under the measure, “several tax breaks that have been renewed repeatedly on a temporary basis,” including a business tax credit for research expenses and a benefit for certain capital investments, would be permanently extended. In a statement, House Speaker Ryan “called the measure ‘a pivotal step towards rewriting our broken tax code by ending Washington’s days of extending tax policies one year at a time.’”

The Los Angeles Times (12/18, Mascaro) also reports that the House approved “a massive package of tax breaksThursday,” making permanent dozens of specialty tax breaks “that have been renewed year to year.” The bill now moves to the Senate, where it is set to be combined with a $1.1-trillion omnibus spending measure. Final votes “are set for Friday, and President Obama is expected to sign the combined package into law.”

According to USA Today (12/18, Kelly), “all but a handful of Republicans voted for the bill,” and “while a majority of Democrats voted against it,” more than “70 Democrats joined with Republicans to approve the legislation.”

The Wall Street Journal (12/18, Rubin, Subscription Publication) reports that by making a number of the tax breaks permanent, GOP members have freed up time to achieve the party’s larger goals of lower tax rates and a broader tax base. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) stated, “It gives us a chance now to go back and do real tax reform,” adding, “It also limits the issues that we need to include a tax reform bill.”

A piece by the AP (12/18, Rosenberg) highlights how the tax bill is set to increase the limit on the so-called Section 179 deduction from $25,000 to $500,000 and looks at the reasons and ways small businesses can take advantage of the tax break for equipment purchases.