November 6, 2006

The White House wants to work with Congress after the November 7 elections to push through the tax-cut extenders now stalled in the Estate and Extension of Tax Relief Bill of 2006 (trifecta bill) (HR 5970), according to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Robert Portman. “We are encouraging Congress to move on it during the lame duck,” Portman said in a conference call with reporters on November 3.

According to Portman, the administration is “fairly confident that the extenders, including Work Opportunity and Welfare to Work Tax Credits, Indian Employment Credit, renewal of District of Columbia Zone credit and the research and development tax credit, will be extended, and we want to work with Congress to do that.”

Portman did not dispute charges by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., ranking Senate Finance Committee member, that failure to pass extenders during the lame-duck session would, in effect, be tantamount to supporting a tax increase. However, Portman stressed that it would be premature to discuss any possible legislative vehicles to which the extenders could be attached until the White House consults with congressional leaders.

“I don’t think that decision has been made yet. After the election, we’re going to have some meetings … with the leadership on both sides of the aisle, and we will be working through that, as well as some other –what we view as must-pass bills, including our appropriations,” Portman said. He added that extending the tax cuts “will be probably tied up in that bigger discussion about how to get through what is going to be 10 of the 12 appropriations bills that are still undone for 07.”

Congress returns in mid-November for the lame-duck session. Congressional sources previously suggested that one other possible vehicle for the extenders is a technical corrections bill if it is advanced during the lame-duck session. They cautioned that it is too early too predict whether a technical corrections measure will be taken up before adjournment or whether it will be addressed by the 110th session of Congress.

Updates will be made as we move forward after the Elections. Please contact your EHB representative if you have any questions.