Baucus Revives Extenders’ Bill

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Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Today, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the head of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced deficit-neutral legislation including the closing of a whole lot of loopholes and the reauthorization of a whole bunch of jobs programs. (That TANF Emergency Fund reauthorization I mentioned earlier today? That’s in there, for one.)

The number of small changes to programs and taxes is dizzying. The bill re-ups the Build America Bond programs. It includes tax breaks for small businesses. It modifies dozens of other taxes. It reinstates the research and development tax credit. It provides funding for jobs for 350,000 youths. It provides continued funding for a national study of child welfare. It gives money to the National Housing Trust Fund. It provides disaster-relief funding and helps workers in the Gulf. It includes dozens of incentives for green vehicles and retrofitting. It makes changes to the health-care law and has some provisions for Native Americans and the timber industry.

It also lifts the oil-spill liability cap: “Analysts estimate that the cost of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could exceed $14 billion. The companies that caused this oil spill are responsible for all of the costs of cleanup and up to $75 million of additional damages. These companies are responsible for all additional damages if they are found to be grossly negligent, to have engaged in willful misconduct, or to have violated an applicable Federal safety, construction or operating regulation. To the extent that costs are not borne by the parties responsible for the spill, up to $1 billion of additional damage costs.”

And it creates an “Office of the Homeowner Advocate,” which would “assist homeowners, housing counselors, and housing lawyers in resolving problems with the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), a temporary program to help homeowners who are struggling to keep up with payments on their mortgages.”

The payfors? It changes the taxing of carried interest: “The bill would prevent investment fund managers from paying taxes entirely at capital gains rates on investment management services income received as carried interest in an investment fund.” That raises more than $13 billion.

Then, it cuts food stamps, as Senate Democrats have already done twice in recent months, angering their colleagues in the House. The summary notes: “[E]ffective January 31, food stamp benefits will return to the levels that individuals would have received in 2014 under pre-Recovery Act law. This modification reduces the cost of the bill by $13.79 billion over ten years.”

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