House Passes Permanent Tax Cut Bill

The House on April 18 approved a measure that would make permanent the tax-cut provisions contained in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA) (P.L. 107-16) by a vote of 229 to 198. The bill's fate in the Senate is uncertain, since Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle, D-S.D. refuses to bring it up for a vote.

The legislation, which will cost $372 billion during the next 10 years, was substituted as an amendment to the Fairness for Foster Care Families Bill of 2001 (HR 586) to speed its passage. The new bill would also enact the Taxpayer Protection and IRS Accountability Bill of 2002 (HR 3991) without its controversial Code Sec. 527 provision. The House rejected HR 3991 on April 10.

The tax cut was good for America in 2001 and it is good policy now, according to House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. It will help estate planners and extend the same marriage penalty relief to future nuptials, he stated. It will also prevent taxes from suddenly rising on taxpayers when EGTRRA expires in 2011, Hastert added. Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill issued a statement on April 18 in support of the passage of HR 586, saying, "I applaud the House for voting to prevent the largest tax increase in history in 2011."

However, the bill's future is uncertain, at best, in the Senate, where Daschle has vowed that he will not permit a vote on the measure. If so, "the American people will hold the Senate leadership responsible for what I consider very irresponsible behavior," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman William M. Thomas, R-Calif., noted in response.


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