Friday, July 25, 2014

Only 7 Republican Extremists Filibustered The Latest American Jobs Bill-- And They Failed


Will the real Ron Johnson please stand up, please stand up

When the worst of the Republican crackpot extremists in the Senate tried to filibuster John Walsh's Bring Jobs Home Act (S.2569) even Ted Cruz looked at them like they were crazy. The bill "amends the Internal Revenue Code to: (1) grant business taxpayers a tax credit for up to 20% of insourcing expenses incurred for eliminating a business located outside the United States and relocating it within the United States, and (2) deny a tax deduction for outsourcing expenses incurred in relocating a U.S. business outside the United States. Requires an increase in the taxpayer's employment of full-time employees in the United States in order to claim the tax credit for insourcing expenses." In other words this bill-- which was cosponsored by two dozen Democrats, from progressives like Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkely, Brian Schatz and Tammy Baldwin to conservatives like Joe Manchin, Chris Coons, Claire McCaskill and Mark Pryor-- does just what the titles implies, incentivizes businesses to bring jobs back to America. Who wouldn't want that?

Glad you asked. Every single senator was there and cloture passed 93-7. The 7 filibustering extremists and obstructionists:
Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Rand Paul (R-KY)
Mike Lee (R-UT)
Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
Lindsay Graham (R-SC)
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
These 7 don't like closing tax loopholes for their big donors and none of them care what the voters think of that. The senator most likely to suffer the consequences is Ron Johnson, who is up for reelection in 2016 and who Wisconsin voters have come to regret sending to Washington in the first place. If Russ Feingold challenges him, it won't even be close. This particular loophole Johnson was filibustering for allows for deductions of expenses incurred when companies wind down domestic operations and send jobs to foreign countries. The bill-- if it gets through the Republican House-- uses the savings to establish a tax credit worth 20% of the overall cost to a company of bringing jobs back to the United States. Elizabeth Warren was one of the senators celebrating the bipartisan victory. "Big corporations and their armies of lobbyists have rigged the tax code to reward businesses when they ship jobs overseas," she said. "This isn't right. I'm glad that after years of blocking this proposal, Republicans have finally agreed to allow us to debate this legislation. We should pass this bill and send it to the House as soon as possible-- to reward companies that return jobs to the United States and to give our workers and businesses a fair shot to succeed."

Not unrelated, last week Treasury Secretary Jack Lew called for a "new sense of economic patriotism. from companies looking to avoid paying taxes by moving their addresses offshore. Yesterday President Obama lashed out at "corporate deserters" who are taking advantage of another loophole the Republicans refuse to close. Right now corporate criminals like Walgreen and dug makers Mylan and AbbVie are in the middle of these kinds of shenanigans and American consumers have started a low key, grassroots boycott of Walgreen, the pharmacy chain. 50 companies have already taken advantage of the loophole.

Yesterday David Gelles, writing in the NY Times reported how Obama is trying to work out a deal with reluctant Republicans to stop these inversions. The goal of course is to "retroactively strip the tax advantages away from many of the year’s biggest mergers and acquisitions."
There is growing consensus on Capitol Hill that the rush of inversions should be stopped. Lawmakers from both parties worry that the more companies move their headquarters to countries like Ireland and the Netherlands, the more the American tax base is being compromised.

And given the unlikelihood of comprehensive tax reform getting passed anytime soon, both Democrats and Republicans seem to agree that a short-term fix is needed.

But already, there is partisan disagreement about what anti-inversion legislation should look like.

The Obama administration has proposed effectively banning inversions, and making any legislation retroactive until May of this year. Such a move would affect several big deals, including AbbVie‘s $54 billion acquisition of Shire, and Medtronic‘s $43 billion takeover of Covidien.

…But at a Senate Finance Committee hearing this week, Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, signaled he would not support backdating a new law.

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At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see Russ Feingold challenging Ron Johnson. He let Wisconsin down by not running against Scott Walker, and that will cost him. Wisconsin needs better choices, only the voters there don't seem to care anymore. I hold little hope that America's Dairyland will ever recover the legacy left to them by the La Follettes, pere et fils.


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