For more than three decades, Congress had to periodically extend a longstanding -- and generally popular -- corporate tax credit for research and development, sometimes as frequently as every year. When he was campaigning for the presidency, Barack Obama promised to make the tax credit permanent, so that companies wouldn't be held hostage by congressional delays in reauthorization when making their investment decisions.
For most of Obama's tenure, efforts to make the tax credit permanent were unsuccessful, though the credit was typically extended on an ad-hoc basis. Shortly before his final year in office, Congress acted to make the credit permanent and Obama signed it into law.
Upon consideration in the House, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said, "This is something that we think ought to be a permanent feature of our tax code." At the time, Ryan chaired the House Ways and Means Committee; he subsequently became House Speaker.
On Dec. 18, 2015, Obama signed H.R. 2029, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016. Contained in this massive bill was a subsection that came from a previously distinct bill called the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015. It is this bill that included the language permanently extending the research tax credit.
We rate this Promise Kept.