"My sense is that the focus at the outset is likely to be the extender package," Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, told reporters yesterday.
Wyden takes the gavel from long-time senator Max Baucus, who has left to become the US ambassador to China.
The PTC is among 55 tax provisions that expired at the end of last year. Baucus and Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican who chairs the House tax-writing committee, allowed them to lapse in favour of working on a broader tax code overhaul.
Keith Martin, a Washington-based partner at law firm Chadbourne & Parke, expects the earliest legislation will appear is mid-summer as Wyden's staff gets up to speed.
He expects an extension to be opposed by the Republican-dominated House of Representatives, but that it will ultimately go through. "It will be close, but if I had to bet, that's where I am."