WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2015 – Republicans and Democrats are trading accusations of hypocrisy over renewing the $500,000 Section 179 business expensing allowance and other expired tax benefits.

The House last week passed a permanent Section 179 extension but fell just shy of getting a veto-proof margin. Democrats say the permanent extension, estimated to cost nearly $80 billion over 10 years, needs to be offset with other revenue increases. Republicans are only pushing the permanent tax extenders now so the cost won’t have to be figured into a broader tax reform package later, Democrats say.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan doesn’t dispute that but he says that Democrats haven’t demanded revenue offsets for past, temporary extensions of the Section 179 allowance and other measures. “It’s an inconsistent position,” he said.

Congress is likely to have to do another temporary extenders bill, but Ryan didn’t say when that might move. Obama has proposed overhauling the corporate tax code, but Republicans want to do individual tax reform as well. Ryan is still holding out hope for a broad tax reform bill, but he said he’s open to doing it in stages over the next two Congresses.

If there is going to be a broad tax reform bill, Congress will have to agree on it by this summer, Ryan said.


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