The Senate, rushing to go home for vacation and facing the threat of a long filibuster from Sen. William Proxmire (D-Wis.), yesterday did not take up controversial tax legislation that would have provided special breaks to a football team owner, an airline, and a brokerage firm.
The piece of elgislation, originally passed by the House over a year ago, would suspend the duty on "concentrate of poppy straw" used to make morphine and codeine.
But the Senate Finance Committee in May attached an amendemnt to the House version that apparently would give Texas International Airlines and estimated $1 million in tax breaks this year. And Finance Committee Chairman Russell B. Long (D-La.) planned to propose two more amendments on the floor yesterday.
One of them would have helped William H. Sullivan Jr., owner of the New England Patriots football team, while the other was for E. F. Hutton & Co., a New York brokerage firm.
None of the amendments, of course, mentioned the intended beneficiaries and all were couched in the complicated jargon of tax law. The bill was scheduled to be debated by the Senate with several other "minor" tax bills yesterday afternoon.
Proxmire, armed with a newspaper account of the actual impact of the tax bills and a hastily written letter from the Treasury opposing till and the amendments, planned to keep debate going on the floor yesterday until enough senators took off for the 10-day recess to make a quorum, and therefore a vote, impossible.
The Senate took up the other noncontroversial tax bills yesterday including one that exempts home brewers of beer and wine from federal excise taxes - but did not consider the poppy straw bill.
Proxmire said later that Long's aides had told him early yesterday the Louisiana Democrat would not bring up the amendments for E. F. Hutton or Sullivan but still planned to put to a vote the bill to help Texas International.
On the floor, however, Proxmire said, Long told him that the Finance Committee would not bring up any bills yesterday that Proxmire opposed.
"I presume these will come up again after the recess," Proxmire said. "We'll have more time to prepare and to get a detailed analysis from the Treasury Department."