Tax Extenders Stall in Senate

The tax extenders bill H.R. 3474, Hire More Heroes Act, has stalled for the moment in the Senate due to a disagreement regarding amendments. The impasse occurred when Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) moved to consider a cloture motion on Amendment No. 3060 to H.R. 3474. The primary issue at this point is not the support for this tax extenders themselves, 93 senators voted to take up H.R. 3474, but rather whether additional amendments should be allowed, and if so, whether those amendments must be germane to the tax provisions in the bill.

H.R. The Hire More Heroes Act of 2014 amends the Internal Revenue Code to permit an employer, for purposes of determining whether such employer is an applicable large employer ad thus required to provide health care coverage to its employees under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, to exclude employees who have coverage under a health care program administered by the Department of Defense (DOD), including TRICARE, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). H.R. 3474 was passed by the House on March 11, placed on the Senate calendar on March 24, and on May 14, Amendment SA 3060 was proposed by Senator Reid for Senator Wyden in the nature of a substitute, thereby striking out the entire text of the bill and replace it with a different text that provides the extension of the various expired tax credit provisions. The debate came to an impasse when additional amendments were proposed, including adding provisions that would eliminate the Wind Production Act and repeal the Obamacare medical device tax.

On May 15, a cloture motion on the measure was withdrawn by unanimous consent in the Senate. Clotures is a procedure by which the Senate can put an end to debate without actually voting a matter down. By rule, no debate is allowed on a cloture motion. A vote in favor of cloture is a vote to end debate on the original matter and go to a vote, while a vote against it is a vote to keep debating. Withdrawing the cloture motion enables the measure to come up for debate in the future. At this point, while we remain hopeful and continue to encourage the Senate to bring the matter up for discussion as soon as possible, it appears the debate will not continue after elections.

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