What: All Issues : Fair Taxation : Tax Breaks for the Rich : S Con Res 21. (Fiscal 2008 budget resolution), Sessions of Alabama amendment on exemptions for the Alternative Minimum Tax/On agreeing to the amendment (2007 senate Roll Call 100)
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S Con Res 21. (Fiscal 2008 budget resolution), Sessions of Alabama amendment on exemptions for the Alternative Minimum Tax/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 100     Mar 23, 2007
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This vote was on an amendment by Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, dealing with the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). The AMT was devised in 1969 as a way to capture more tax revenues from a handful of very wealthy people so adept at using loopholes that they paid little into the federal treasury. But the program has come under scrutiny in recent years, because an increasing number of middle-class taxpayers have found themselves subject to the tax. This is largely because the AMT's formulas do not account for inflation or recent tax cuts.

Specifically, Sessions' amendment would have allowed taxpayers subject to the AMT to claim personal exemptions, which would reduce their taxable income. Currently, tax law prevents those who pay taxes under the AMT from claiming personal exemptions, unlike others not subject to the AMT. Sessions said it would save about $82 billion for taxpayers.

"The real solution to the AMT problem is comprehensive tax reform, but there is little appetite in Congress for such an effort. Until major reform becomes a reality, my bill will provide a more permanent, pro-family solution to the AMT problem," said Sessions in a statement when he introduced a separate bill on the subject in July.

The amendment was offered to the budget resolution that serves as the blueprint for Congress' budget priorities in fiscal 2008. The budget resolution sets overall spending targets for the Appropriations committees and outlines other budget rules.

Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., argued against Sessions' amendment, saying it would have the effect of increasing taxes for some taxpayers in the first two years, followed by a large loss to the federal treasury over the next five years that would be difficult to absorb.

"It is sort of the worst of all worlds. It increases taxes in the front end and then blows a hole in the budget," Conrad said.

Democrats were united in opposing the amendment, which was defeated 53-46. Three Republicans joined Democrats in voting no -- Norm Coleman of Minnesota, and Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine. Thus, the budget resolution went forward without language that would have allowed personal exemptions for those taxpayers subject to the AMT.

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