As some of you may have heard, the Senate today passed its version of the tax compromise by a vote of 81-19. The bill includes an extension of the deadline in section 1603 for beginning construction through 2011. The size of the majority is a strong signal to the House that the Senate may not be open for negotiation.
Although not a certainty, the expectation here (yes, I am in the Devil’s Den) is that the House may take up the bill as early as tonight but most likely tomorrow. Procedurally, the way the House is likely to operate is to take up the Senate-passed bill, with the Democratic amendment being the only one in order. If the Democratic amendment passes, chaos will reign because the bill will have to go to conference. If the Democratic amendment fails, the House then will vote on final passage (agreeing to the Senate bill). This likely will happen immediately thereafter.
At this point, no one knows for certain what the House Democratic amendment will contain. Rumors are that it will focus on beefing up the estate tax, particularly increasing rates and decreasing exemptions. We will have to see. Of course, the House could take an entirely different procedural route. It’s what makes DC so much “fun!”