Senators call for passage of bill to cement alcohol excise tax relief

A bipartisan group of more than 50 senators is urging leaders of the chamber to pass legislation that would make permanent excise tax relief for brewers, winemakers and distillers. “As businesses struggle to retain workers and stay open, allowing the current rates to lapse would force many businesses across the county […]

A bipartisan group of more than 50 senators is urging leaders of the chamber to pass legislation that would make permanent excise tax relief for brewers, winemakers and distillers.

“As businesses struggle to retain workers and stay open, allowing the current rates to lapse would force many businesses across the county to lay off workers or close their doors permanently,” the senators wrote in a letter Tuesday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate approves two energy regulators, completing panel On The Money: Biden announces key members of economic team | GOP open to Yellen as Treasury secretary, opposed to budget pick | GAO: Labor Department ‘improperly presented’ jobless data Senate GOP open to confirming Yellen to be Biden’s Treasury secretary MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases The five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden Collins urges voters to turn out in Georgia runoffs MORE (D-N.Y.). 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: ‘Enough is enough now’ Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE‘s 2017 tax-cut law provided excise tax reductions for two years for producers of beer, wine and spirits. The tax relief was extended through 2020 as part of government funding legislation last year, and is currently set to expire at the end of the year if Congress does not take action.

A bill to indefinitely extend the tax reductions, called the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, has widespread support in Congress and is sponsored by about 350 House members and three-quarters of all senators. But it’s unclear whether Congress will consider any tax legislation in the lame-duck session.

The senators said in Tuesday’s letter that it’s important that the craft beverage bill be included “in the next appropriate legislative package and acted upon before the end of the year.”

They noted that there are beverage alcohol production businesses in every state, and that those businesses are partners with businesses in the agriculture, hospitality and manufacturing sectors. The senators also said that alcohol producers have seen “dramatic declines in revenue” as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“With the economic duress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, producers’ businesses have been devastated which would be compounded by an increase in their federal excise taxes,” they wrote.

Signers of the letter include Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenTwo more parting shots from Trump aimed squarely at disabled workers On The Money: Push for student loan forgiveness puts Biden in tight spot | Trump is wild card as shutdown fears grow | Mnuchin asks Fed to return 5 billion in unspent COVID emergency funds Grassley, Wyden criticize Treasury guidance concerning PPP loans MORE (D-Ore.), the lead sponsor of the craft beverage bill, and Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate Biden says transition outreach from Trump administration has been ‘sincere’ MORE (R-Ohio), who also serves on the Finance Committee.

The letter comes as business groups have also been escalating their efforts to push for an extension of the excise tax reductions.

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