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Senate blocks TAG extension on procedural vote

 The Senate voted Thursday against waiving a budget point of order offered by Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.) on the bill to extend the Transaction Account Guarantee (TAG) program for an additional two years. As a practical matter, this means the legislation is dead for this year.

"There's still a slight chance an extension could be attached to something that is moving, like an agreement on the fiscal cliff if there is one," said OBA President Roger Beverage. "But I honestly doubt it will happen in this political environment. It looks like the TAG program will expire on schedule at the end of the month, and bankers should plan accordingly."

The Senate voted 50-42 to waive the budget point of order, but was 10 votes short of the 60 votes needed to pass.

The budget issue arose because the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates an extension of the TAG program will cost taxpayers $110 million over a 10-year period. This "cost" must either be offset with revenue from some source, including other spending cuts, or be waived by the Senate.

"We're disappointed because we seriously question the validity of the CBO estimate," Beverage said. "But I also understand the legitimate concerns expressed by both Sen. Inhofe and Sen. Coburn about further expanding the deficit."

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