Senate Committee Approves Tax Bill, Preserving CU Tax Exemption
The Senate Finance Committee Thursday approved its version of tax reform legislation, which retains the credit union tax exemption.
The bill now goes to the Senate floor, where it faces an uncertain future because it remains unclear if Senate Republicans have the votes to pass the measure.
The committee vote was 14 to 12, along party lines. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), a conservative already has said he opposes the bill, leaving Republicans a limited margin of error. Several other senators are said to have reservations about the bill.
The Senate is expected to consider the bill after Thanksgiving. The vote came hours after the House passed its version of the bill with the credit union tax exemption intact.
Even though, changes to the credit union tax exemption are not in the Senate bill, they still could be added on the Senate floor. The bill will go to the Senate floor under budget reconciliation rules, which limit the amount of debate and prohibit opponents from filibustering the measure.
However, traditionally the Senate hold what is unofficially known as a “vote-a-rama” at the conclusion of debate. Any senators can offer any germane amendment at that time. Debate is limited before a vote is held.
If the credit union tax exemption survives in the Senate, traditionally the issue will be put to rest.
When House and Senate conferees meet to resolve the differences between their versions of the bill, debate is limited to only those provisions in one or the other bill.
So, if the changes to the credit union tax exemption is in neither bill, they cannot be added in conference.
“Conference committees are established to resolve disagreements between the House and Senate over their versions of the same bill,” the Congressional Research Service said in a 2015 report. “Therefore, the authority of conferees is limited to matters in disagreement.”