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Senate Approves Bipartisan IRS, Treasury Funding Bill; Grassley Pushes for Tax Extenders

The Senate approved a bipartisan government spending bill on February 14 by an 83-to-16 vote to avert another partial government shutdown. The “minibus” spending package, which will keep the IRS and Treasury open through the 2019 fiscal year, also cleared the House on February 14. President Donald Trump signed the measure on February 15.

Tax Extenders

The renewal of over 20 temporary tax breaks that expired in 2017, known as tax extenders, did not make it into the spending package. Nevertheless, Senate Finance Committee (SFC) Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is calling on lawmakers to pass tax extenders legislation.

“There have been press reports stating that if the extenders are not part of the funding bill, they are ‘dead for good.’ I reject that conclusion,” Grassley said on February 14 from the Senate floor. “Regardless of what happens on a bill to keep the government open, I will continue to fight to get the extenders enacted and work toward a longer-term resolution,” he added.

Additionally, Grassley stated that he will be introducing a tax extenders bill in the Senate, which will also include certain disaster tax relief. In particular, Grassley highlighted the importance of renewing the railroad track maintenance ( “short-line”) and biodiesel fuel tax credits. Bipartisan lawmakers, including SFC ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., have called for making permanent the short-line credit.

Looking Ahead

In line with many Republican lawmakers, Grassley did not advocate continuing the annual or biannual renewal process for tax extenders. “In the long-term, Congress needs to decide whether or not these provisions should be allowed to expire, be phased-out, or made permanent as current policy or modified in some way,” Grassley said.

However, those decisions should be made down the road once Congress deals with the “crisis” the currently expired tax breaks has caused, he added. “It seems to me that the right thing to do now is to extend these provisions for 2018 and 2019.”