Both amendments include adjustments to provide relief to keep the alternative minimum tax (AMT), which was never indexed for inflation, from applying to middle-class families, although the $1 million amendment that may be more widely favored by Boehner and other Republicans would actually eliminate the AMT rather than provide another patch.
Neither plan addresses other looming issues, including the automatic spending cuts under sequestration or the cut in payments to medical providers for treating patients under Medicare. The “doc fix” and the patch to block the expanded AMT hit are often combined on Capitol Hill in what has become a rather ritualistic can-kicking exercise.
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.