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  • Wed, November 10, 2021 4:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In the face spending that is already fueling a 31-year high inflation rate, major supply chain disruptions, and record national labor shortages, the potential taxes being proposed by the Biden Administration and his allies in Congress in the Build Back Better bill will touch every American in some form or another while jeopardizing continued economic recovery from the pandemic and shutdowns. The supposedly $1.75 Trillion price tag for the reconciliation spending binge of leftist pet programs and/or agendas – has already been challenged as being too low. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), a nonpartisan organization with an emphasis on federal finances, has said the Democrats bill will actually cost around $2.4 trillion.  [In addition, the Wharton School of Business has estimated the figure to be nearly $4.0 Trillion, with American taxpayers incurring $1.56 Trillion in new taxes; a far cry from the President’s claim of it costing ZERO!]. Either figure could be a deal breaker for the so-called moderate House Democrats that accepted a compromise with Speaker Pelosi and the leftist wing, to hold a vote . . . if the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) came back with a score comparable to the advertised $1.75 Trillion.

    The CBO is a nonpartisan body tasked with scoring an estimate of the true cost of legislation and its impacts on the economy.  It is this “scoring” that has not yet been produced that moderates are seeking before they vote on the reconciliation package.  Reportedly, the Director of CBO explained the delay in processing saying: “The analysis of the bill’s many provisions is complicated.” Although he promised that “[the] CBO will provide a cost estimate for the entire bill as soon as practicable.”

    As for ways to pay for this massive spending proposal, the Build Back Better bill is loaded with increases, new approaches, and slight of hand to cover the debt-busting potential. The accompanying chart/table highlight the more impactful possibilities buried in the 2,000 page plus legislative proposal.

    SEE Summary of Tax Proposals / CIRT Advocacy Center.

  • Sat, November 06, 2021 7:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It went deep into the night as the Democrat majority in the House squabbled over rules and voting procedures until finally passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill after a multi-hour standoff between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and more radical left-wing members of her party who vowed to oppose it without voting on President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion reconciliation socialist spending package in tandem.  The more traditional infrastructure bill, pegged at $1.2 trillion dollars over a 10-year period for roads, bridges, ports, waterways, rural broadband access and more, passed on a 228-206 vote, with 13 Republicans and 6 Democrats breaking party lines to vote for and against the bill, respectively.

    The last minute deal was hammered out after a group of more “moderate” Democrat House members consented in writing that they would allow a vote on the massive reconciliation spending package -- if the CBO score was aligned with White House estimates.  Of course, that will leave open for interpretation whether if and when the CBO numbers do match the White House figures.  Even if they do, Democrat Senators have already signaled that many of the favorite left-wing spend and tax provisions in their version of the package are non-starters or likely to be stripped from the Senate version. 

    BUT, the House vote clears the final hurdle for the more “traditional” $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill to reach the President’s desk.

  • Wed, October 13, 2021 2:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    CIRT joined a large cross-section of organizations delivering a message to Congressional leadership that we strongly oppose the proposed new tax information reporting regime as described by the Department of Treasury, that would impact almost every American who has an account at a financial institution. The proposal, buried in the monstrous $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, will require providers of financial services to track and submit to the IRS information on the inflows and outflows of every account above a de minimis threshold of $600 during the year.

    Moreover, the organizations noted that “
    The privacy concerns for Americans are real and should not be taken lightly. The IRS is not impervious to being hacked and has suffered massive data breaches in the recent past where the personal information of taxpayers was stolen.”  And also, that tinkering around the edges to “soften” the new mandates and requirements to certain types of transactions, or groups of banking accounts, etc. was still an outrageous invasion of privacy and government overreach.

    SEE the Coalition Letter and Fact Sheet for further details.

  • 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).

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