Following Deal, Senate Approves AMT Patch

Following a deal between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate passed a one-year "patch" that prevents the alternative-minimum tax (AMT) from being collected from millions of middle-class Americans. The vote was 88-5.

Democrats had been insisting that the AMT fix be offset by tax increases worth $50 billion, but Republicans ojected, arguing that any potential revenue from the AMT would never be collected so no offset would be needed. GOP leaders also pointed out that AMT fixed or patches, covering one or two years, had been routinely been enacted when they ran the Congress without problems.

Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mt.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) both hailed the agreement.

Some House Democrats, including Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) and the conservative Blue Dogs, have indicated that they will not support an AMT bill that is not paid for, although they acknowledge that they issue is a bad one for them politically since it hits middle and upper middle income taxpayers, many of whom vote Democratic.

Reid said the House "has indicated that they would accept our bill."