1. House and Senate leaders have been arguing for months about whether to renew scores of tax breaks for U.S. businesses and individuals that expired on Dec. 31. The wide-ranging incentives include a credit for wind energy producers, a provision letting corporations defer U.S. taxes on overseas lending profits, and a break for Nascar racetracks. There’s broad support for the extensions—the fight is over the best way to approve them and whether to make them permanent.
2. Some conservative activists are urging Republicans not to do that, saying an imperfect tax cut bill is better than nothing. Even if senators can work it out, the bill would have a tough time in the House, where GOP leaders plan to bring only some of the extensions to a vote, individually, and want to make them permanent. The dispute may not be resolved until after the November elections, when the lame-duck Congress could hastily vote to temporarily extend the tax breaks—and make them retroactive for all of 2014—on the way out the door.
3. Senate Democrats want a vote on a single bill, the EXPIRE Act of 2014, that would extend the breaks through 2015. Many Senate Republicans are fine with that—as long as they get the chance to vote on amendments that would change some provisions and add new ones that take aim at the White House. Example: a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s excise tax on medical devices. Republicans could use procedural tactics to stall the bill if Democrats won’t agree to the amendments.