May 7, 2020

Support Grows for Repeal of GOP Tax Scam Slipped into Vital COVID Relief Legislation

Whitehouse, Doggett, and Brown announce new support: 24 Senate cosponsors, 52 House cosponsors, and chorus of key groups throw weight behind repeal of millionaire giveaway; AFSCME’s Lee Saunders, AFT’s Randi Weingarten, Americans for Tax Fairness’s Frank Clemente, Coalition on Human Needs’ Deborah Weinstein, ITEP’s Amy Hanauer, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice’s Sr. Simone Campbell, and Patriotic Millionaires’ Morris Pearl issue statements in support

Washington, DC – Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced new support for their bill to unwind a Republican giveaway to millionaires slipped into vital coronavirus relief legislation.  As Whitehouse formally introduced the bill in the Senate today, a majority of the Senate Democratic Caucus have cosponsored the legislation, while 52 members have joined the bill in the House.  A broad array of influential groups have also come out in support of repealing the GOP’s millionaire giveaway.

Doggett, Whitehouse, and Brown’s bill would do away with provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimates will reduce government revenue by $160 billion over ten years, and that would overwhelmingly benefit wealthy taxpayers like hedge fund managers and real estate speculators. 


Now joining Whitehouse and Brown on the bill in the Senate are Senators Tom Carper (D-DE), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Angus King (I-ME), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Jack Reed (D-RI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Brian Schatz (D-HI).  Joining Doggett in the House are over 50 cosponsors.


A host of influential groups has joined to support repealing the Republican giveaway to millionaires.  Leaders from several of those groups issued forceful statements on the need for repeal today:

Lee Saunders, President, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees: “It makes no sense that Congress can find $135 billion to pay for an unnecessary tax cut for an exclusive group of millionaires but fail to provide needed resources to keep front-line workers safe during this health care crisis. Congress should repeal the millionaire’s bailout and use the money to prevent cuts to public services and layoffs of the everyday heroes who are on the job working for the public.”

Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers: “When millions of Americans are jobless, struggling to make rent payments, and terrified of what happens for their financial future during this crisis, Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans are sneaking tax giveaways for the wealthy into the recovery bills. Thankfully, Senator Whitehouse, Rep. Doggett and Rep. DeLauro are looking out for the working people carrying us through the COVID-19 pandemic and trying to repeal those cuts. Frontline workers, state and local budgets desperately need federal assistance – this is no time for a corporate bailout. We’re grateful for this progressive leadership that looks out for the many, not the privileged few.”

Frank Clemente, Executive Director, Americans for Tax Fairness: “This $135 billion ‘millionaires giveaway’ is one of the most offensive tax breaks I have ever seen come out of Washington because it is so costly, so heavily skewed to wealthy business owners, and embedded in a law that was supposed to be about protecting the health and livelihoods of working families. But Congress can fix this. It has pulled back ill-advised handouts in the past, including a $50 billion giveaway to the tobacco industry that was snuck into a tax-cut bill, then quickly repealed in the face of public outrage. It needs to do the same today.” 

Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director, Coalition on Human Needs:  “Across this nation, people line up for hours to get packages of food.  Thirty million people have made unemployment insurance claims, with many more to come.  When our economic security is crumbling, the last thing we needed was a $135 billion tax break for millionaires, averaging $1.6 million each. That was slipped into an emergency COVID-19 package, but now, thankfully, Senator Whitehouse has introduced legislation to repeal it.  Protecting our health and safety, preventing poverty, rebuilding our economy – that’s what we need $135 billion for, not more millions for millionaires.”

Amy Hanauer, Executive Director, Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy:  “While the CARES Act provides essential and much-needed relief, it also provides a wildly unnecessary $135 billion tax giveaway for wealthy business owners with ‘losses’ that often exist only on paper. The provision even provides resources retroactively for business losses in 2018 and 2019, which obviously have nothing to do with the COVID-19 crisis. Sen. Whitehouse’s legislation would, rightly, undo this absurdity.”

Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice: “Rather than stewarding taxpayer resources to promote the common good during this historic pandemic, Senate Republican leaders snuck an outrageous tax break for 43,000 millionaires into the CARES Act. Hedge fund managers, real estate tycoons, and other millionaires will each receive a $1.6 million tax cut. This is a shocking misuse of scarce resources! This Republican give-away is what Pope Francis calls ‘an economy that kills.’ It takes resources from the common good and showers it on those who do not need it. This is wrong, and Congress must immediately repeal this giveaway and invest these precious funds into programs that sustain the health, safety, and well-being of our communities. Sen. Whitehouse’s bill will make this right.”

Morris Pearl, Chair, Patriotic Millionaires, former managing director, BlackRock:  “It is unconscionable, but far from surprising, that during a global pandemic Senate Republicans snuck a $135 billion tax break for millionaires into the economic stimulus package. Their entire governing philosophy is centered around providing tax cuts for the rich – everything else, especially relief for Americans who can’t make ends meet as their jobs have disappeared in the midst of a global pandemic, are just bargaining chips to use in negotiations to get Democrats to agree to more tax cuts for the rich. Senator Whitehouse’s repeal legislation gets Congress to think of the people again. Take it from me, millionaires don’t need another tax break – we’re doing just fine.” 

The effort to repeal the Republican provisions has the support of nearly 200 organizations from across the country.  Click here for the support letter organized by Americans for Tax Fairness.

Click here for expert analysis of these provisions recommending the approach taken by this legislation.



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