AMT Update: I’m Just a Bill on Capitol Hill

December 18, 2007

If there were a future’s market on whether an AMT patch is going to be passed by this weekend (before Congress recesses for the year), the odds would most likely still be yes, but the stock would be falling. The latest from the Washington Examiner:

The congressional struggle over how to protect millions of middle-class people from getting soaked by the alternative minimum tax this year entered its final stage Tuesday as the Senate rejected a House demand that the $50 billion in tax relief be paid for.

The Senate voted 48-46 for the House-passed bill, well short of the 60 needed to advance the measure to shield 21 million from an average AMT bill of $2,000. The measure would have covered the cost of the lost revenue by closing a loophole on offshore tax havens.

With that vote, the House was scheduled to vote Wednesday on a Senate-passed measure that fixes the AMT for a year but provides no offsets to pay for it.

“Democrats are determined to protect middle-class taxpayers from the AMT before we adjourn for the year, and we are very disappointed that Republicans continue to block responsible relief,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said.

Republicans and the White House insist that, because the AMT was never meant to affect millions of people, there is no need to raise taxes to pay for legislation to keep it from growing.

Here is the roll call vote. Only Snowe (R-ME) crossed party lines in the vote, while the presidential candidates and Feinstein were absent.

CongressDaily PM (subscription only) had this to say earlier about whether or not the House will pass a patch with no offsets.

Pressure from House Blue Dog Democrats and a gambit by Speaker Pelosi today prompted Senate Majority Leader Reid to agree to a vote on an alternative minimum tax patch that is fully offset. Reid agreed to include the offsets after Pelosi threatened to delay sending the omnibus spending bill to the Senate. (See story above). The persistence of the Blue Dogs — and more than 30 votes they wield on the floor to press their position — appeared to have put House leaders in a pickle about how to pass the AMT patch and prevent 21 million taxpayers from seeing tax increases next year. Asked this morning whether the House will pass an AMT patch before leaving for the year, House Majority Leader Hoyer said “maybe.”


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