Tax legislative lingo: Rush to recede

In Congressional Conference Committees reconciling House and Senate tax bills, in the 1980s, at least, staffs worked through spreadsheets listing conflicting provisions and the evolving state of play as  the two Houses gradually came into agreement.

The typical state of play early on went something like this for a particular provision:  House position:  Senate recedes.  Senate position:  House recedes.  Neither side

had budged.

If House negotiators agreed to a Senate provision,  the agreed resolution would be written, “House recedes.”

Occasionally, not only did House negotiators like a Senate provision better than their own, but also Senate negotiators liked the corresponding House provision better than their own.  So the two sides came up with these positions:  House position:  House recedes.  Senate position:  Senate recedes.  Maybe you had to be there, but that fairly rare circumstance seemed comical to us tax folks, and acquired the label “Rush to recede.”  To be sure, it wasn’t a race, where the first mover won.  Nothing was settled until everything was settled.  Negotiators had to figure out how to reconcile their evolving positions.


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