Congress is back in session for a few weeks and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says this year has been "unproductive" in terms of passing significant legislation. Grassley, a Republican, says one of the most critical items left on the agenda is a fix to the so-called "alternative minimum tax" or A-M-T.
"Congress has never waited so long to pass this A-M-T fix. It’s December the 4th and it’s totally unclear what form this legislative fix will take, even though it affects tens of millions of working families across the country and tens of thousands of Iowans as well," Grassley says. Without the changes in the A-M-T, Grassley says those millions of middle-class taxpayers could be paying taxes that were never intended to hit anyone but the very wealthy.
Grassley says: "Not only in regard to their tax liability, but also, the longer we wait to get this done, it’s going to affect the prompt payment by the I-R-S of refunds to these same taxpayers." He says there are around 11 appropriations bills, or spending bills, that are still in various forms of development and all of them need to be passed before the end of the year.
Grassley says: "The kind of omnibus spending bill that’s under consideration would likely not have any money in it for the Iraq war, even though funds for the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan are expected to run out sometime around February the first." He says he’s frustrated with the lack of progress on so many vital issues, which also include Medicare reforms and the Farm Bill.
"There’s just a lot of work to do in a short amount of time since the year has been so unproductive thus far and so many important (issues) have been put off or dealt with unsuccessfully by Congressional leaders," he says," "hopefully, a good share of this can be done between now and the end of the year." Congress is back at work after the long Thanksgiving break and is expected to adjourn again in a little over two weeks for the year-end holidays.