When the House passed the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (H.R. 3086) earlier this week by voice vote, there was reason to hope (yes, hope!) that the Senate would do the same. Nothing is ever easy in Harry Reid’s Senate, though. CQ (sub. req’d
) is reporting Reid is unlikely to take up the uncontroversial House-passed measure:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is supporting plans in a new bipartisan proposal that would package authorization for states to enforce online sales taxes together with another proposal to provide a 10-year extension of the ban on Internet access taxes that expires Nov. 1.
The measure (S 2609) by Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo., combines a continuation for 10 years of the soon-to-expire temporary ban (PL 110-108) on Internet service levies with provisions of a Senate-passed Enzi proposal (S 743) to authorize states to collect sales taxes from out-of-state online vendors.
Enzi said in an interview that Reid made the case behind the scenes for including an extension for 10 years, instead of a permanent extension of the Internet service tax moratorium. “That’s what Sen. Reid put in,” Enzi said.
Reid told reporters Wednesday, “We’ve had a number of meetings on that today, and … we’re trying to figure out a way to go forward. I think it’s fair to say that the two of them are going to be together. They’re not going to be separated.”
Rather than pass a permanent ban on taxing Internet access, Reid wants to enact a temporary ban PAIRED with massive new taxing authority for state and local governments.
On Tuesday, Heritage Action’s Michael A. Needham warned against that strategy, saying, “The Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act should not be held hostage to Washington special interests seeking to advance unpopular proposals such as an Internet sales tax.”
Reid’s approach is a non-starter in the House and likely with many of his Senate colleagues. If Americans suddenly find their Internet access taxed later this year, they’ll know who to blame.
Yesterday, in a speech at Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center, House Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Paul RyanHouse Republican Average61%
expressed his desire to end the Export-Import Bank
, which expires at the end of September. Ryan’s primary point though was that conservatives and Republicans should let Democrats be the party of corporate welfare and cronyism
“My friend Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Jeb HensarlingHouse Republican Average88% has recently launched a great challenge against the crony capitalist economy, and in particular, against one of its manifestations, the Export-Import Bank. But the bank is just one example of how bureaucratic government is corrupting free enterprise through and through. Conservatives must stop defending this. Cronyism is the Progressives’ project for economic control. Let them defend it.”
This week, the Senate will vote on the misleadingly named Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act (S. 2578). Introduced by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), the bill is in reaction to the June Supreme Court ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell, which granted closely-held family businesses relief from being forced to comply with the HHS anti-conscience mandate if they have a religious objection. Specifically, the Murray-Udall bill would force employers like the Greens of Hobby Lobby and the Hahns of Conestoga Wood Specialties to provide coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and devices and “would also prohibit employers from seeking relief from any federal health care mandate — no matter how coercive the rule or controversial the procedure.”
The Murray-Udall bill “would essentially exempt all federal health care mandates from the protections afforded by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act” and allow the administration to trample on the religious freedom of families like the Greens and Hahns who are trying to run their businesses in accordance with their religious beliefs.
The Murray-Udall bill “could also affect the freedom of non-profit employers like religious schools and charities,” Heritage adds. As long as Obamacare is the law of the land, government bureaucrats will have the “authority to decide the details of insurance plans, dictating what employers must offer and individuals must purchase.”
The government has already exempted 100 million employees from the anti-conscience mandate for commercial and political reasons. The Murray-Udall bill is allegedly designed to keep employers out of their employees’ health care decisions, but it in fact forces employers to get involved in these decisions and seriously violates their fundamental right to religious freedom in the process.
Use the POPVOX form below to email your Senators in opposition of the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act:
This morning’s WSJ editorial
on yesterday’s highway and transit bailout (see the scorecard
) is a must read. After slamming the bill as “a tribute to budget gimmicks” that “does nothing to address the revenue-spending mismatch that is today’s highway fund,” the editorial offered up some serious GOP accountability:
Republicans over the years have proposed a number of innovative reforms to a federal highway program that bristles with waste and bureaucracy. These include devolving more power to the states to set priorities, slashing the billions thrown at money-losing urban mass-transit projects, streamlining environmental laws that add to construction costs, and potentially devoting some royalties from expanded federal oil and gas drilling to fund roads. Too bad they never seem to get around to implementing them.
House GOP leaders are claiming the temporary nature of this patch is designed to give them another run at reform next year, perhaps with the support of a Republican-led Senate. We’ll hold them to that. The trust fund problem has been begging for a fix for years. This latest stopgap is a dodge, not a victory.
In a letter to the editor in the Spokesman-Review,
Edmund Schweitzer III writes:
“Some Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories customers have used the Ex-Im Bank for financing, at their choosing. SEL does not depend on it, nor encourage it. If the Ex-Im Bank were to disappear, I believe buyers and sellers would find attractive commercial options unencumbered by politics and special interests.”
Mr. Schweitzer’s position is clear: Thus, at this moment, I believe the charter should not be renewed.
Ironically, a Spokesman-Review editorial in 2012 cited his company as a reason the Bank should be reauthorized:
“Although Boeing Co. is by far the biggest beneficiary, in the last five years several Eastern Washington companies – SCAFCO in Spokane, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories in Pullman, and Colmac Coil in Colville – have done more than $3 million worth of foreign business with Ex-Im’s help. Dozens, if not hundreds, of jobs have been created or sustained.”
The fifth district company, represented by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Cathy McMorris RodgersHouse Republican Average51%, has received $3.6 million in financial assistance from the Bank since 2007, with $1.6 million coming since 2012.
Congress should End Ex-Im.