Daily Tax Update - July 6, 2009

CONGRESS RETURNS TO TACKLE HEALTH CARE AND ENERGY:  Congress returns from its week-long July Fourth recess to resume efforts to overhaul the nation’s health care system and energy legislation. The tax-writing committees will continue searching for revenue offsets to pay for health care reform. The President’s goal of having a health care bill on his desk by October 15th is likely to slip since lawmakers have yet to agree to the policy or funding options for a health care reform bill. The House will be in session four weeks before its August recess while the Senate will be in session five weeks before recessing.

  • President Obama used his weekly address to urge Congress to pass health care reform. Obama said, “Now is the time to reform an unsustainable health care system that is imposing crushing costs on families, businesses, large and small, and state and federal budgets. We need to protect what works, fix what’s broken, and bring down costs for all Americans. No more talk. No more delay. Health care reform must happen this year.”

FRANKEN TO BE SWORN IN TOMORROW: Minnesota Senator-elect Al Franken will be sworn in Tuesday. Franken’s long fought victory will give the Democrats a 60-vote majority (which includes two Independents) needed to overcome a filibuster in the Senate. However, since Senators Kennedy and Byrd are ailing, it is unclear when the Democrats will have 60 voting members. 

  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has repeatedly said that having 60 Democratic-leaning Senators does not guarantee passage of any legislation. Last week, Reid said, “We have 60 votes on paper. But we cannot bulldoze anybody; it doesn’t work that way. My caucus doesn’t allow it. And we have a very diverse group of senators philosophically. I am not this morning suddenly flexing my muscles.”

SENATE FINANCE TAX COUNSEL JOINS TREASURY OFFICE OF TAX POLICY:  Joshua Odintz, who recently served as tax counsel with the Senate Finance Committee, will join the Treasury Department's Office of Tax Policy. Odintz will serve as tax legislative counsel and begin his new post in late July.

As provided for in Treasury regulations, advice (if any) relating to federal taxes that is contained in this communication (including attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (1) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (2) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any plan or arrangement addressed herein.

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