"We think that Congress should take a serious look at it, not just dismiss it as another lobbying effort," Maffei said. "There aren't many options for doing stimulus without increasing the deficit."
Ralph Hellmann, the top lobbyist for the Information Technology Industry Council, said his group wants overall tax reform. But since that debate remains uncertain, Hellmann said the temporary repatriation bill could help solve some of the short-term problems.
"The debt-limit talks are sucking all the oxygen out of the room," he said.
He noted that the last time Congress offered the overseas profits tax holiday in 2004, it also had the backing of a strange-bedfellows coalition including Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and then-Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.).
"I don't think they'd ever worked on anything together," he said.
Ryan Ellis, who is the tax policy director at Norquist's group, said the repatriation tax holiday has gained a collection of unusual supporters this time around, too, because "it's literally money out of the sky."
"Everybody's looking for a way to fix this international corporate tax system," he added. "We aren't in agreement as to how to do it. Repatriation would at least temporarily provide an escape hatch."
Ellis disagrees that passing a repatriation measure alone would lessen the chances for overall tax reform. "If that's your attitude, then you'll never get anywhere," he said. "You could be waiting for the rest of your career."
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.