House OK’s tax extenders bill, but Senate can’t act until June 7

By Jon H. Harsch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, May 28 – In two largely partisan votes Friday afternoon, the House passed both portions of the tax extenders/jobless benefits/Medicare physician payments bill, the “American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act.” Most Republicans voted against both portions of the bill, insisting that the federal budget deficit situation makes it the wrong time to spend more and that continuing high unemployment makes it the wrong time to imposing new “job-killing” taxes on business.

Most Democrats insisted instead that the bill’s added taxes simply correct “loopholes” which encourage U.S. businesses to move jobs overseas and which give undeserved tax breaks to favored groups such as hedge fund managers – and that people who’ve lost jobs, healthcare coverage and their homes through no fault of their own deserve extended jobless benefits. Meanwhile, some conservative Democrats voted with Republicans to protest increased federal spending and some liberal Democrats called for more generous benefits than contained in the compromise bill.

The bill would re-activate tax breaks for biofuels which expired last December, to extend the breaks through the end of this year. The biodiesel industry has been especially hard hit by the delay in extending federal help. But the help still is promised, not delivered. That’s because the Senate has adjourned for the Memorial Day recess. So the earliest that the Senate can act on the bill is the week of June 7 at which time Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) expects the Senate to amend the bill, resulting in further delay.

For coverage of Friday’s House debate on the tax extenders bill, go to:

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