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  • Fri, September 17, 2021 3:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    CIRT joined over 100 other organizations to voice strong opposition to a proposal to sweep-up banking information under the guise of addressing what is euphemistically called “tax gap” concerns (namely non-compliance). The provision is tucked into the massive Build Back Better Act, that seeks to require financial institutions to report to the IRS on transactions in business and personal accounts.

    The group blasted the idea as: “Indiscriminate, blanket data collection [that] would amount to a troubling effort to profile American taxpayers based on account characteristics without grounds for suspicion of tax evasion. Such profiling is inappropriate in all law enforcement contexts.”  In other words, treat everyone like criminals, trampling rights and freedoms, in the search for evidence of a true wrong doer.

    For more details SEE Joint Letter to Congress Opposing Consumer Financial Account Reporting.


  • Tue, August 10, 2021 10:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Today, the U.S. Senate moved a large piece of legislation related to infrastructure needs forward with a bipartisan vote on a $1.2 Trillion bill (with 19 Republicans joining all the Democrats in a 69-30 vote).  The bill became controversial for its non-infrastructure spending and policy changes on such diverse matters as cryptocurrency and tax matters. The deal includes roughly $550 bill in new funding over five years, with estimates of only 25 to maybe 40 percent being earmarked for what most would define as traditional or “hard” infrastructure projects such as: roads, bridges, broadband, water and rail. [The 2,700-page-long bill invests $110 billion toward roads, bridges, and major projects; provides some $66 billion to passenger and freight rail; $65 billion to rebuild the electric grid; $65 billion to expand broadband internet lines; $55 billion for water pipes including replacing lead pipes; and more].

    Most of the controversy and opposition to the final package had virtually nothing to do with the “hard” infrastructure proposed spending (some even now contending that investments in such projects will pay for themselves over time, even if the initial expenditures will add $256 billion to the deficit as estimated by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).  Likewise, the process of not only linking this bill to the much more controversial and extremely partisan Democrat supported $3.5 trillion plan using budget reconciliation (which means by-passing Senate filibuster rules), but also having the House accept the Senate infrastructure deal without further changes, will now be the center of attention.  SEE this overview on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)

  • Thu, July 29, 2021 1:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Yesterday, the U.S. Senate voted 67-32 to break a filibuster and allow debate to begin on a proposed “bi-partisan” infrastructure package endorsed by members of both parties.  President Biden also supported the agreement earlier (but had to walk-back some comments that seemed to undermine the effort, leaving the White House’s exact position a bit uncertain), which comes in around $1.2 trillion and includes $550 billion in new spending over eight years.  Moreover, the Democrats are also angling to ram through a $3.5 trillion bill using the controversial budget reconciliation process, which saves them from needing any Republican votes in the upper chamber (although there is still some issue as to whether the Democrats can hold all 50 of their Senate votes in the face of the massive spending amount).

    Questions remain on the proposed package’s particulars, and critics say funding for infrastructure should only come from repurposing unspent money from previous COVID-19 relief bills.  Amendments to this effect, and on other important details are still to play out on the Senate floor as the package moves forward.  Those offering these changes have a simple message: “Congress can’t keep spending trillions of dollars we don’t have.”

    [See, Slide Presentation/Summary of progress along the way to develop package and the latest step to bring a bill to the floor].

  • Thu, July 01, 2021 1:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Today, the House of Representatives on a 221-201 vote passed the $715 billion package to address surface transportation and water infrastructure projects. Led by House Transportation Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), the package is meant to shape aspects of the ongoing infrastructure debate with Senate and White House. CIRT reported earlier on this piece of legislation, known as the “INVEST in America Act” (a summary of the key provisions and spending amounts is included as an attachment to the original CIRT story dated 06/28/2021 for more details).

    However, according to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.): “This bill is designed to be a part of the President’s jobs bill. It is not a substitute for the jobs bill.” 

  • Mon, June 28, 2021 1:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With the so-called compromise “Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework” on pause, after the President “blew-up” the apparent agreement only hours after announcing it (which he has subsequently tried to walk back), attention has turned to another piece of legislation dealing with surface transportation needs. According to reports, the House of Representatives will shortly vote on a five-year $715 billion dollar bill to fund highways, bridges, and rail needs. The “INVEST in America Act” also contains climate-change provisions, such as $8.2 billion for carbon reduction and $6.2 billion for climate mitigation and resiliency improvements tucked in with the more traditional infrastructure projects. Notwithstanding the House action, the bill still needs to be reconciled with the Senate version, which the Environment and Public Works Committee approved unanimously in May; a task that will be difficult, though provisions in the measures could get added to a broader infrastructure bill.

    As noted in earlier stories, a bipartisan group of senators had struck a deal with the White House last week on a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, which given the mix messages coming out of the White House, faces a long and arduous process to get the bill through Congress.  Complicating matters is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to advance the legislation until the Senate also passes a tandem multi-trillion-dollar bill focused on social programs such that include education, paid leave, and childcare. To accomplish this bigger endeavor, Congress needs to adopt a budget that allows for Democrats to use reconciliation to advance the measure, after its own party members work out top-line numbers between themselves.

    See, INVEST Fact Sheet for details.

  • Fri, June 25, 2021 1:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    UPDATE:  Only a hours after signaling support for the “Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework” with a working group of 21 Senators, President Biden let the air out of the legislative effort when he indicated he won’t sign the bipartisan deal if Congress doesn’t also pass a tandem reconciliation bill.  During a press conference, the President said he expected “before the fiscal year is over, that we will have voted on this bill, the infrastructure bill, as well as voted on the budget resolution. But if only one comes to me, this is the only one that comes to me, I’m not signing it. It’s in tandem.”  Backing up the sentiment, Speaker Nancy Pelosi D-Calif.) confirmed Thursday that the House would not vote on a bipartisan infrastructure bill until the Senate passes a larger set of Democratic priorities through a budget reconciliation bill.

  • Thu, June 24, 2021 3:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Today, the White House announced that President Biden supports the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework,  proposed outline agreement among 11 Republicans, 9 Democrats, and one independent Senator. This is a critical step in moving the basic or traditional “infrastructure” elements (combination of transportation, transit, and port related, broadband, electric grid and environmental remediation) forward to a Congressional vote.  However, the President also emphasized that he “remains committed to the comprehensive agenda laid out in the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan.”  And, that he will “work with Congress to build on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework in legislation that moves in tandem,” with these other larger goals.

    It remains to be seen if the compromise package or framework will garner 60-member Senate support among the wider parties caucus, or be agreed to by the House.

    For details on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (see, WH Fact Sheet).

  • Fri, June 11, 2021 1:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As predicted during the recently completed spring conference in Washington, D.C. the negotiations between the Biden White House and a small group of GOP Senators lead by Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) to find a compromise around the infrastructure initiative have come to an end.  In there place a more complicated and longer process has already begun with a group of 10 Senators (evenly divided between the two parties) busily at work trying to come-up with a strictly “Congressional” compromise that the Senators tentatively announced late Thursday, June 10th.  This new proposal will need further vetting and buy-in from both the White House and the expanded members in the Senate caucuses of both parties.  However, the bipartisan group of 10 and the White House still appear to have profound differences over what constitutes infrastructure and how much money should be allotted to it – making it a long road ahead.

    Moreover, as first pointed-out to our members during the spring conference sessions the path for any infrastructure bill must now pass through the hazardous and prolonged budget/appropriations process that will require a number of steps and firm support along the way to survive.

  • Tue, May 25, 2021 5:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Democrats and Republicans leaders on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee announced they reached a bipartisan agreement on the surface transportation reauthorization bill, which would provide $304 billion in funding for “traditional style” infrastructure like: highways, roads and bridges, etc.  The outline of the deal comes on the heels of the first signs of compromise when the President and top Republicans discussed the gaping differences between the original “American Jobs Plan” $2.25 trillion proposal and the GOP’s $568 billion counter (which resulted in the President responding with a massive but trimmed down $1.7 trillion offer).  The Senate EPW Committee will be marking-up the bipartisan compromise on May 26th.

    See Attached, for a summary on the President and GOP original proposals.

  • Mon, May 10, 2021 1:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In order to turn President Biden’s sought after capital gains tax increases into revenue raisers, the President has also proposed dramatic changes to estate tax law.  The Administration’s proposal would not just repeal of “stepped-up basis” in assets transferred at death, but would also tax those “built-up gains” at death as though the assets had been sold. These drastic changes in estate taxes could well make it impossible for privately-owned businesses and family farms/firms to be passed to heirs. [The estate tax changes come on the heels of President Biden’s recently announced proposal to raise the capital gains tax rate to 39.6/43.4 percent, which analysis have suggested would actually reduce rather than increase federal revenue]. 

    CIRT has joined a cross-section of organizations as part of the “Family Business Estate Tax Coalition” to strongly oppose repeal of “stepped-up basis” and the taxation of “built-up gains” at death.  [See details of the FBETC letter here].


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