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Senator Hatch Discusses Extenders at U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, spoke to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 11. 2014. In that talk he discussed the reasons behind voting against the Senate tax extenders bill earlier this year, his commitment to see them passed, and his prediction that they would likely be passed during the lame-duck session after the November elections:

Now, I know that corporate inversions are the hot tax topic of the day. Still, I know there are other tax issues that have people in this room concerned, most notably the status of business tax extenders.

Anyone who’s paid attention to the saga surrounding the 2014 tax extenders package knows my position. I am committed to seeing it pass, as are virtually all Republicans in the Senate.

Unfortunately, as with the debate over corporate inversions, the tax extenders have been pulled into election-year politics and gamesmanship.

A few months ago, the Senate Democratic majority brought the extenders bill to the floor and tried to force it through without any consideration of any amendments – neither Republican nor Democratic amendments.

As the saying goes, that’s a dog that just won’t hunt.

The Senate Democratic Leadership, so desperate to protect their members from anything resembling a difficult vote, has turned the Senate into an amendment-free-zone.

The current Senate Majority Leader has acted to block amendments on 87 separate occasions – more than twice as many times as the previous six majority leaders combined.

Over the past year, the Senate has voted on only 11 Republican amendments. During that same time frame, Democrats in the House of Representatives – where the majority typically enjoys much greater control over the debate – have received votes on 176 amendments.

Senate Republicans are – for good reason, in my view – fed up.

So, we voted against cloture on the tax extenders bill, effectively delaying a final vote on the measure because weren’t allowed to offer any amendments. This was a particularly difficult vote for me as I had worked closely with Chairman Wyden to put the tax extenders package together in a bipartisan fashion.

But, in the end, I believe it is essential that the Senate minority stand up for the traditions and practices of the Senate, even if they aren’t so important to those in the majority.

At this time, the tax extenders package remains somewhat in limbo. We’ve made it clear to the Senate Democratic Leadership that we are more than willing to bring up and pass the extenders bill as soon as they agree to a fair and open amendment process.

Of course, with just a few legislative days left until the Senate recesses before the elections, it’s very unlikely that the extenders bill will pass before Election Day.

But, make no mistake, Republicans want to pass this legislation. We know how important these extenders are to the business community. We’re going to get it done. I’m confident that it will pass, likely during the lame duck session after the midterms.

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