Among other add-ins were a $12 billion carve-out for wind energy projects, and a $78 million break for motorsports facilities such as NASCAR tracks.
The panel voted 19-5 for the final $205 billion package, with all 13 Democrats and six Republicans in favor and five Republicans opposed.
“This is essentially the prelims for tax reform. That’s what this is all about in trying to show you can wring efficiencies out of the code,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who has long been an influential advocate for a full tax overhaul.
During committee action Thursday, Mr. Wyden won a vote to add back in a tax credit for electric motorcycles, though he said it was more narrow than an earlier version and that it’s still consistent with his reform principles.
“You almost have your foot in two camps,” he said of himself and fellow reformers. “While you work for broad reform, you can’t just sit in the corner with your arms crossed and say, ‘I’m going to ignore my constituents, particularly ones that are small businesses, that are innovative, who I think are representative of our challenges in global markets.’”
A number of senators said they would be willing to cut more deeply — but only if it happens at once. In the meantime, they said, Thursday’s bill is a step in the right direction.
But Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, said the committee managed to cut just $6 billion in tax credits, which he called a bad start.
He offered amendments to curb a tax credit for manufacturers of energy-efficient appliances and the wind energy credit, saying the amounted to the government interfering in the markets.
Other Republicans defended the wind tax credit as a needed boost to a nascent industry.
Sen. Charles E. Grassley, an Iowa Republican who backs the wind credit, said it was unfair to cut some credits now.
“No single energy tax incentive should be singled out over others, energy-related and not, before a broad-based tax reform debate,” he said. “Until tax reform is undertaken, workers and employers need certainty in existing tax law.”