WASHINGTON - The House approved legislation Friday that would extend several expiring tax breaks as well as provide tax incentives for renewable energy production, but the Bush administration threatened to veto the measure.
House members approved the package, mostly along party lines, by a vote of 257 to 166. The House bill, like the one approved by the Senate Tuesday, would authorize $400 million in qualified zone academy bonds in each of 2008 and 2009, and also would extend the qualified green building and sustainable design project bond program through the end of 2012.
The legislation now heads to the Senate, where leaders have said they will not be able to muster the votes needed to pass the House bill, the costs of which are fully offset with revenue-raising provisions. The Senate passed a partially offset bill, but some House Democrats, including Ways and Means Committee chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., have demanded the legislation adhere to strict pay-as-you-go budgetary rules.
In a statement issued late Thursday, the Bush administration encouraged House lawmakers to abandon their bill and instead adopt the Senate's package in its entirety. The administration also criticized House lawmakers for breaking up the Senate's large tax package into several smaller bills, most notably creating and approving a separate measure to provide a one-year "patch" to the alternative minimum tax. The Senate had included the AMT patch in its overall tax extenders bill.
"By doing so, the House invites certain delay of this important piece of legislation being signed into law, which could disrupt the upcoming individual income tax filing season, and potentially delay tax refunds for American families," the statement read.
The AMT, which applies to interest earned on private-activity bonds and some governmental and 501(c)(3) bonds, was created to prevent high-income households eligible for several tax breaks from paying little or no taxes. In a statement released Tuesday, the administration threw its support exclusively behind the Senate measure.
The House had been poised to vote on the extenders package Thursday, but House Republicans, who mostly oppose the bill, noted that there was a difference between the text of the bill reported and the text of the bill actually being discussed on the House floor. As a result, the legislation was sent back to the House Rules Committee to rectify the discrepancy, delaying its consideration until Friday.