The House of Representatives approved massive tax legislation on Thursday, worth $622 billion.
Labeled the “tax-extenders” bill, the legislation centers around hotly-contested tax breaks to be extended in length or expanded altogether. A handful of tax incentives in the bill were extended through 2019.
The legislation passed 318-109, with 77 Democrats joining 241 Republicans; three GOP members voted against the bill.
Among the tax breaks inserted: A research and development tax credit and enhanced small business expensing credit; further, expansions of the earned income tax credit, the Child Tax Credit and the American opportunity tax credit were approves as part of the bill.
The GOP earned a few small victories: Included in the measure were the high demand for reform of the IRS, and the bill halts ObamaCare’s medical device tax for a two-year period. The GOP also scored a victory by not allowing the Child Tax Credit to be indexed to inflation.
“How can families and local businesses count on tax relief each year as long as Congress can’t decide what’s permanent and what’s not? That confusion ends with this bill,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas).
Some Democrats assailed the bill as insufficient in addressing the deficit, largely because measures to trim spending were not included to offset tax breaks.
“For those who propose to have the increase in the deficit continue to drive down defense and domestic spending, this bill will almost certainly accomplish this,” said Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.)
The bill was merged with the $1.1 trillion omnibus budget package upon being received by the Senate.
The combined legislation passed in Congress’ upper-chamber by a vote of 65-33 and was promptly signed by President Obama on Friday, keeping the federal government open and fully funded through September 30.
[The Hill] [AP]