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Tax extenders vote on Tuesday?

In my excitement that Congressional tax writers had finally reached a compromise on how to pay for the lapsed tax breaks known as extenders, I failed to properly emphasize that it is just an agreement.

Before any of us who might benefit from the renewed tax breaks in The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, it must be passed by both the full House and Senate and then signed by the prez.

Things are looking up in that regard, but Congress continually stands out as the perfect example against predicting outcomes.

In fact, there was hope that the House would vote on the extenders package today. The new target date for the first vote is Tuesday, May 25.

Why things slowed down: The brakes were applied so that details on the final package could be worked out. That's always a good idea.

Some lawmakers also want to see the final fiscal estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, Again, smart shoppers want to know the exact price tag for a product, or in this case, a piece of legislation.

Of course, during this delay, opponents of some of the revenue raising provisions also will be organizing.

For example, reports The Hill newspaper, pharmaceutical companies are not happy about a provision that would require they offer more discounts for hospitals that treat poorer patients.

And the conservative Blue Dog coalition will likely want to spend a lot of time on every provision.

Post-holiday more likely: So don't make you tax break plans just yet. Even if the House does approve the bill next week, the Senate tends to operate a bit more slowly.

A safer bet, if there is really such a thing when discussing Capitol Hill, would be that the extenders are finalized shortly after Congress reconvenes following the Memorial Day break. 

But since the Ways and Means and Senate Finance negotiators' latest version of extenders is the first step forward they've taken in this regard in months, I am hopeful we soon will know which tax laws we have effectively been operating under for the last five months of 2010.

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I wish they had thought about slowing down and reading the provisions before they voted on the health care bill!

Elizabeth R.

Thanks for clearing this up! One day I hope to see you tweet or post that it finally passed so I know to tell my clients they can safely contribute to charity from their IRA!

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