NPR -- It's All Politics, A Tax Bill Killed By The Push And Pull Of Politics On The Hill:
A few months back, Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, brought a bill to the floor that basically offered tax incentives to businesses and individuals. Those incentives are called tax extenders.
They include big stuff and small stuff — tax breaks for wind farms, tax breaks for schoolteachers who buy their own supplies. Tax breaks for rum producers in Puerto Rico, people who make movies, race track owners, even some breaks for people who bike to work. In other words, something for every lawmaker to take home.
This should have been a slam dunk. And at first, it was. Ninety-six senators gathered in the chamber shortly after Wyden's speech, and all voted in favor of moving the bill forward. But two days later, this bill, with 96 out of 100 supporters, was stopped cold. To anyone watching, it might have looked like some special kind of insanity.
But Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow with the tax policy center at the Urban Institute, says look closer.
"This is all fairly well planned," he says. "This isn't World War I, where we kind of accidentally stumbled into a catastrophe." He says he does understand how frustrating it is for Americans to watch this process: "It's either frustrating or amusing. If you actually watch this on C-Span and you don't get the joke, it has to be very frustrating."
(Hat Tip: Ann Murphy.)