Senate panel revives dozens of tax breaks

The Senate's tax-writing panel is moving to revive dozens of tax breaks for businesses like biodiesel and wind energy producers, even as the GOP-controlled House was trumpeting symbolic legislation to erase them and create a new tax code with lower rates and fewer special interest tax breaks.

The $200 billion-plus package debated by the Senate Finance Committee Thursday is anchored by a two-year provision to protect middle- and upper-income taxpayers from being hit by the alternative minimum tax, shielding them from higher levies originally meant to prevent the rich from escaping taxes altogether.

The cost of the package grew by more than $50 billion since its release on Wednesday, including a production tax credit for windmills, criticized by presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, that was originally slated to be killed.