WASHINGTON -- With less than six weeks before two popular bond programs expire, House and Senate tax lawmakers introduced legislation yesterday to continue those and other tax breaks for 18 months, through Dec. 31, 1993.
"We are beginning a push for legislation that must be passed," one of the lawmakers, Sen. John C. Danforth, R-Mo., says in a statement.
The bill, also sponsored by Sen. David Boren, D-Okla., would extend about a dozen expiring tax provisions, including the tax exemptions for mortgage revenue bonds and small-issue industrial development bonds, and the low-income housing tax credit. The tax breaks are scheduled to expire June 30.
In the House, Rep. Frank Guarini, D-N.J., and Rep. Ray McGarth, R-N.Y., offered a bill that also provides for 18-month extensions.
Their action follows that of Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., who introduced legislation last week that would make the housing credit permanent and continue the other tax breaks through Dec. 31, 1993.
Sen. Danforth said a majority of the Senate Finance Committee has signed on in support of his bill, and an aide to Rep. Guarini said the same is true of the House Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Guarini's aide characterized the Way and Means members support as "a show of force."
The legislators' efforts amount to the repeat of their drive late last year to continue the expiring provisions, which at that time were set to expire Dec. 31, 1991. Congress agreed to continue the tax breaks through June 30 with the idea that this year it would pass a comprehensive economic recovery bill that could become the vehicle for the extensions.
Congress passed such a bill in March, with extensions through Dec. 31, 1993, for all the expiring provisions except the housing credit, which would have been made permanent. But President Bush vetoed the package last month because it contained tax increases for upper-income taxpayers.
Since then, Capitol Hill observers have predicted tax legislators would mount a last-minute push for the expiring provisions, which would result in a narrow bill containing only the extensions.
Then last week, the possibility opened up that next month there might be a legislative vehicle for the extensions included in an urban aid bill that Congress and the White House are trying to draft by the end of June.