By Bernie Becker, The Hill

A bipartisan (and Pennsylvania-heavy) group of lawmakers is pushing temporary tax breaks to help stimulate investment in scientific fields.

Legislation introduced in the House by four Democrats and Republicans apiece – would allow companies in the life sciences industry to either bring offshore profits home at a reduced tax rate or claim an enhanced research and development tax credit.

“Tax cuts in these targeted areas will allow scientists and researchers to make investments in the work and hire more employees, just what this economy needs to get moving again,” Rep. Jason Altimire (D-Pa.), one of the measure’s sponsors, said in a statement. 

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) has introduced the Senate version of the legislation. Five other Pennsylvanians – Reps. Allyson Schwartz (D), Pat Meehan (R), Jim Gerlach (R), Charlie Dent (R), and Chaka Fattah (D) – joined Altmire in introducing the House legislation, as did Reps. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.).

The lawmakers’ push for targeted, temporary tax breaks comes as top policymakers on both sides of the aisle are also discussing overhauling the tax code, a process which would likely involve trading credits and deductions for lower rates.

Under the new proposal, companies could choose to double their R&D credit for the up to $150 million in life sciences research, or repatriate that same amount of foreign profits at a 5.25 percent tax rate.

If offshore funds are brought to the U.S., they must be used to hire scientific staff, invest in research organizations or invest in laboratory facilities.

Lawmakers in the current Congress have also introduced legislation that would more broadly expand research and development tax incentives and implement a wider corporate tax holiday.