Friday, November 16, 2007

Maybe Santa will bring us an AMT patch?

Tax Notes Today ($) reports that after categorically ruling out Senate consideration of an AMT patch before the Thanksgiving recess, Majority Leader Harry Reid asked for unanimous consent yesterday (November 15) to debate the bill passed by the House last week.

Reid's unanimous consent request stipulated that after two hours of debate, the Senate would either vote to cut off discussion of the measure or move on to consider competing amendments by Assistant Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., and Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus, D-Mont.

Lott's amendment would repeal the AMT outright and extend expiring tax provisions by one year. Baucus's amendment would provide a one-year AMT patch without offsets and a two-year, offset extenders package.

The fact that Baucus was willing to drop offsets for the AMT patch indicated possible movement toward compromise and resolution of this long-overdue tax problem. But Minority Leader Mitch McConnell objected (and it only takes one to defeat a unanimous consent motion), arguing for a "clean" bill with no offsets at all.

Thus, the crisis continues into December, as the Senate leaves for its two-week Thanksgiving vacation tomorrow.

Remember how upset Senators got when the Iraqi parliament took a vacation last summer, leaving important legislative work unfinished? Were they just kidding around then, or do those standards not apply to our Congress?

Is there some reason I've missed for why the AMT couldn't have been responsibly addressed six months ago?

Our prior commentary and comments on the AMT fiasco are here, here and here.

No comments: