House vote to make tax breaks for small businesses permanent despite White House veto threat



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WASHINGTON — The House voted Friday to make permanent an expired tax break designed to help small businesses invest in equipment and property, defying a veto threat by the White House.

President Barack Obama objects to the bill because it would add $79 billion to the budget deficit over the next decade.

The bill is part of a package of more than 50 temporary tax breaks that Congress routinely extends every year or two. The entire package expired at the start of the year. Now, House Republicans are moving to make selected tax breaks permanent.

On Thursday, the House passed a $14.3 billion package of tax breaks designed to encourage charitable giving. Also, the House Ways and Means Committee advanced several other bills that would benefit businesses and individuals.

The House passed the small business bill on Friday by a vote of 272-142. Thirty-three Democrats joined nearly every Republican in voting for the bill. However, the margin would not be enough to override a presidential veto.

The bill would allow small businesses to immediately write off capital expenses of up to $500,000, rather than taking the deductions over several years. Another provision would make it easier for small business owners to deduct charitable contributions.

Congress has temporarily extended the expiring provision 12 times since 2003, making it difficult for businesses to do long-term planning, said Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, who sponsored the bill.

"We can do this, give our small business owners and farmers the type of certainty they need that will help our economy grow, that will help their businesses grow, rather than do what we've done for 12 years now," Tiberi said. "We need long-term certainty."

The bill is endorsed by numerous business groups, including the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Federation of Independent Business.

The White House said that Obama supports making the tax break permanent, but wants to pay for it by eliminating other business tax breaks.

In its veto message, the White House said the president's proposed budget for next year would allow small businesses to immediately write off up to $1 million in investments, "while also proposing other measures to simplify and cut taxes for small businesses."


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