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A GOP No-tax Approach

A bloc of Republicans is pushing Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.)  to address the alternative minimum tax, expand the Bush tax cuts and pay for various tax breaks without corresponding tax hikes.

“It is inappropriate to suggest that Congress must raise taxes to keep current tax rates and exemptions exactly where they are,” the group wrote Baucus Wednesday.

The letter from all the committee Republicans, except Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, urged Baucus to waive the offsets required by Senate paygo rules to compensate for the tax cut. The group pushed for a full committee markup and floor consideration of tax issues, despite the time pressure to pass something before tax season.

Baucus, though, seems unwilling to waive the paygo requirements. And he has yet to introduce a bill patching the AMT. In January, Baucus cosponsored a bill with the committee’s ranking Republican, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, proposing a full repeal of the tax.

In their letter, the Republicans said they’d prefer a permanent repeal of the AMT, instead of a one-year patch.

They also would like to see the Bush tax cuts – set to expire in 2010 – made permanent.

“Just as none of us want the AMT to hit 20 million additional taxpayers this year because the patch has not been extended, it would be similarly unconscionable to allow a massive tax increase on 90 million filers when the income tax rates increase after 2010 or on the nearly 30 million filers reporting capital gains or dividends,” they wrote.

- Lisa Lerer