Shortly before adjourning for the year, the Senate approved retroactive extensions for a $41.6-billion package of tax breaks, including incentives for heavy-equipment purchases and renewable-energy projects, but lawmakers failed to extend the federal backup program for terrorism risks.
The Senate passed a tax “extenders” measure by a 76-16 vote late on Dec. 16, sending the bill to the White House for President Obama’s expected signature. The House had cleared the measure on Dec. 3 by a wide margin.
The legislation puts back into effect for all of 2014 a group of breaks that expired at the end of last year.
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers backs the provisions allowing companies to take advantage of bonus depreciation and Section 179 “expensing” for capital equipment purchases made throughout calendar year 2014.
The American Institute of Architects welcomed the bill's provision extending the Section 179D tax deduction for energy- efficient buildings to apply to facilities placed in service during 2014. A public-building owner can allocate that deductin to the building's designer.
AIA President Elizabeth Chu Richter said in a statement, "The 179D deduction has leveraged billions of dollars in private capital, resulted in the energy-efficient construction of thousands of public and private buildings and created and preserverd hundreds of thousands of jobs."
The measure also permits developers of wind power and other renewable-energy facilities to take a tax credit for projects that began to be constructed during 2014.
But construction, real estate and insurance organizations, which had pushed hard for a multi-year extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), were disappointed that the Senate ended its session before voting on it. The TRIA program is slated to expire on Dec. 31.
David A. Sampson, Property Casualty Insurers Association of America President, said it was "unconscionable" that the Senate didn't approver a TRIA extension. He added, "If a massive attack occurs before TRIA is reauthorized, there could be no terrorism insurance coverage or taxpayer protection."
TRIA provides private insurers with a federal backstop for coverage against catastrophic terrorist acts. The program was instituted in 2002 and the legislation was reauthorized twice since then.
The measure pending before the Senate was a six-year TRIA extension that the House had passed overwhelmingly on Dec. 10.
But Senate lawmakers were unable to overcome objections to the bill from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).
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