A specialty chemicals group pushed for lawmakers in Washington to advance legislation that would make the nation's tax credit for research and development permanent.
The Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates praised House passage of the bill last week and called on the Senate to take similar action. The group said about one-fifth of members' workers are involved in R&D and about one-tenth of company go toward research.
“By nature, specialty chemical manufacturing is innovative, and many SOCMA members rely on the R&D tax credit to help them remain competitive in the global marketplace," said William Allmond, the group's senior lobbyist.
The R&D credit is one of many of temporary tax incentives that are routinely extended by Congress, but the legislation from Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, would enshrine it in law. The House passed the bill 274-145 with the support of 37 Democrats.
That margin, however, would be insufficient to overturn a threatened veto from President Obama. The White House and most Democrats believe the credit's estimated 10-year cost of $180 billion should be offset elsewhere.
"If we’re going to get away from deficit spending, you’ve got to pay for things,” said Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-California. “Don’t act like you can do these things for free.”
Brady argued that both parties previously "supported this measure on a temporary basis without raising taxes."
"Why does the president want to ship America's research jobs overseas?" Brady asked.
In order to get to the president's desk, however, the legislation must first clear the Senate, where two previous efforts died last year.