House Passes Massive Tax Break Package

(REUTERS/Gary Cameron)

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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The House passed a massive tax-extender package 318-109 Thursday that could make a number of tax breaks permanent, extend dozens of expired tax incentives and place more regulations on the IRS.

House Speaker [crscore]Paul Ryan[/crscore] applauded the deal for taking a step in the right direction toward comprehensive tax reform.

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act includes provisions permanently extending the research and development tax break and modifies limitations on what small businesses can write-off under Section 179 of the tax code.

The Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, largely pushed for by Democrats, could also be made permanent if the legislation is passed.

While the legislation provides some wins for both parties, the sweeping package received some pushback from Democrats.

“This bill is a piecemeal approach to tax reform. It is the opposite of what was done by former Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, who kept some provisions, changed some, ended some like bonus depreciation, and paid for his revenue-neutral comprehensive tax reform proposal,” Committee on Ways and Means Ranking Member [crscore]Sander Levin[/crscore] said on the floor ahead of the vote. “These serious shortcomings must be weighed against the provisions that are important priorities for Democrats – the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

In addition to providing tax cuts, the bill would also reign in IRS power by preventing employees from using personal emails for official use and includes a provision stopping the agency from targeting specific groups based on political ideology.

The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, rolled out late Tuesday evening, will cost approximately $622 billion.

“Today we’ve acted to help millions of Americans keep more of their hard earned money and have more certainty when they do their taxes,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman [crscore]Kevin Brady[/crscore] said in a statement. “By solving these decades-old problems now, we have even more momentum to pass pro-growth tax reform that will boost our economy, help create more jobs and fix our broken tax code.”

The upper chamber is expected to vote on both the tax extenders package and the $1.1 trillion omnibus bill Friday.

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