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InsiderOnline Blog: January 2013

How Did a Last-Minute Deal Become a Special Interest Giveaway?

General Electric, CitiGroup, Captain Morgan, and Hollywood all won tax credits in the fiscal-cliff deal, but it probably didn’t happen the way you imagine it did, reports Tim Carney:

In late July, Finance Chairman Max Baucus announced the committee would soon convene to craft a bill extending many expiring tax credits. This attracted lobbyists like a raw steak attracts wolves. […]

After packing 50 tax credit extensions into the bill, the committee voted 19 to 5 to pass it. But then it stalled. The Senate left for the conventions and the fall campaign. Meanwhile, House Republicans signaled resistance to some of the extensions – especially for green energy.

One lobbyist said he didn’t worry too much about the Baucus bill because “we knew the House wasn’t going to pass it.” But another lobbyist, who had worked on the Puerto Rico issues, said he saw Baucus’ bill as an important starting point that “set the parameters” of a future fight with House Republicans.

But there never was a fight. Baucus’ bill sat ignored until last week, when the White House sat down with Senate Republicans to craft a deal averting the fiscal cliff.

A Republican Senate aide familiar with the cliff negotiations tells me the White House wanted permanent extensions of a whole slew of corporate tax credits. When Senate Republicans said no, “the White House insisted that the exact language” of the Baucus bill be included in the fiscal cliff deal. “They were absolutely insistent,” another aide tells me. (The White House did not return requests for comment.)

Sure enough, Title II of the fiscal cliff legislation is nearly a word-for-word replication of the Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012. [Washington Examiner, January 2]

Posted on 01/04/13 12:39 PM by Alex Adrianson

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