WASHINGTON -- The Senate's top tax writer yesterday did not rule out passing legislation before the end of the year to extend two popular municipal bond programs and ease tax law bond curbs, but he said chances remain slim.

Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, D-Tex., told reporters that so far he has been stymied in his attempts to bring such a bill before the Senate Finance Committee, which he chairs, because of the potential for it to be loaded down with extraneous amendments.

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