The prospects for Rep. Camp's comprehensive tax reform legislation are dim to say the least - at least in this Congress. Before the bill was even dropped, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that comprehensive tax reform was dead in the Senate. Speaker of the House John Boehner's (R-OH) reaction to the Camp legislation can be described as lukewarm at best.
With the prospects for comprehensive tax reform incredibly slim this year, attention will soon be turning to the question of extenders.
The term “tax extenders” refers to the collection of temporary tax provisions that are regularly extended by Congress, typically for one or two years at a time. Tax extenders encompass a wide range of provisions and are diverse in purpose. The more than 50 temporary tax provisions that expired in 2013, included provisions impacting individuals, businesses, the charitable sector, energy, community assistance, and disaster relief.
Since the beginning of the 113th Congress, Chairman Camp has been reluctant to consider tax extenders outside of the broader context of tax reform. Ways and Means members and House leadership have been respectful of the Chairman’s position, and despite the popularity of many of the extenders, these provisions were allowed to expire on Dec. 31, 2013 with almost no opposition.
The discussion draft released by Camp did not include a package of tax extenders. If these temporary tax provisions were permanently extended, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates say it would lower the revenue baseline for this proposal by $1 trillion over a 10-year period. However, the Committee recognizes the likelihood that some of the expired temporary tax provisions will be extended, and Ways and Means has indicated its interest in receiving feedback on which extenders should be included to determine if the package is deficit neutral.
If Camp is unable to sell his tax overhaul proposal to House Republicans in the lead-up to the November elections, senior GOP sources believe Congress will revive discussion on retroactively renewing the tax extenders that failed to be renewed last year.
Newly minted Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) had previously indicated that tax extenders would be the top priority for his committee this year.