January 24, 2017

Whitehouse Presses Trump OMB Nominee on Tax Giveaways

“Take a hard look at these tax expenditures,” Whitehouse urges Mulvaney

Washington, DC – Today during a confirmation hearing held by the Senate Budget Committee, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse questioned President Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Congressman Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), about billions of dollars in wasteful spending through the tax code—on credits, deductions, and special rates for the wealthy and well-connected.  Whitehouse pushed Mulvaney to address tax expenditures as OMB Director, should he be confirmed, to which Mulvaney responded, “Yes, sir.” 

“The problem that I have with some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle is they talk a really big game about the debt and the deficit, but when it comes to the biggest expenditure—the tax expenditures—we can’t get them to budge on anything.  Not the carried interest exception that lets billionaires pay lower taxes or tax rates than their chauffeurs, brick masons, than truck drivers.  That is just an outrage, I think, from simple fairness.  Can’t get it touched.  Fossil fuel companies make more than any other companies on the face of the planet.  They get big subsidies from the taxpayer – makes no sense.  Private jet owners can depreciate their jets faster than the airlines that fly regular people around – makes no sense,” said Whitehouse. 

Tax expenditures accounted for $1.3 trillion in federal spending in 2016 – more than the government spends on Medicare, Medicaid, Affordable Care Act subsidies, and other health care programs combined.

Whitehouse pointed out that in recent years Republicans in Congress have fought Democratic attempts to eliminate wasteful tax loopholes in order to reduce the federal budget deficit.  Whitehouse continued, “We can’t get one piece of that through the other side of the aisle.  They will go to the mat to defend every special interest in my experience.  We’ve never been able to do it so if you want to put something together on this.  I would urge that this administration, which says it’s different from everything else before and isn’t just purely allied to Republicans special interests really, take a hard look at these tax expenditures.  More money goes out the back door of the tax code than goes out any of these individual programs.”

Watch Whitehouse’s questions for Mulvaney here.


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