May 13, 2021
Note: This article is about an event that took place in Washington D.C. on May 13, 2021. It involved a high-ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee and several former senior tax staffers. All the conversations were off-the-record, but permission was granted to report on the event if no names were disclosed.
As political leaders in the nation’s capital seek bipartisan support for President Joe Biden’s Jobs and Families Plans, one Senator admitted on May 13th that pursuing common ground between the political parties is an elusive goal because of over-reach.
“The mere fact that a policy or an idea has broad support makes it a target for conflict because some, on one [political] side or the other, will say ‘this is an engine for us to get something else done’ that doesn’t have bipartisan support,” he said.
Over-reach occurs in Washington when both parties agree on a proposal, but then a policy gets added that ends the agreement. In the case of Biden’s infrastructure plan (aka: Jobs Plan), the Senator said that both political parties agree that the country’s roads and bridges are in grave disrepair and need fixing. But Biden proposing to increase the corporate income tax rate to 28% (or even 25%), as well as other tax increases, will stop Republicans from supporting the plan.
“We find that we run into difficulties on what should be a very easy ‘yes,’” the Senator said.
It is important to note that both political parties are guilty of over-reach. But right now, the focus is on the Democratic Party because they control both chambers of Congress and the White House.
It is equally important to note that over-reach has a ripple effect that bleeds into conversations at the staff level. Regarding the Biden proposals, Democratic staffers have turned a deaf ear to conversations about tax increases hurting U.S. companies’ competitiveness world-wide, according to the former senior tax staffers who spoke at today’s event and lobby current staffers.
“They treat it as a talking point,” said one former senior tax staffer.
“What I don’t understand is do they not get it or do they not care?” said another former senior tax staffer.
A third former senior tax staffer said that competitiveness cannot be over emphasized and yet current tax staffers “blow it off.”
The Senator said a good way to get staffers’ attention is for them to meet with their lawmakers constitutes.
“I can go to them [staffers] and argue until I’m blue in the face, but when somebody from their state comes to them and talks to them – and if it is somebody who is a CEO or in the leadership of a major company in their state – they listen,” the Senator said, adding that Republicans would support paying for Biden’s plans by taking the “user fee approach” or “private sector investment,” which Democrats have yet to embrace.
“We have some serious distance to cover,” the Senator said.
Currently, Democratic leaders are expected to negotiate with Republicans until Memorial Day. Come June, Democrats are expected to go it alone in getting Biden’s plans passed. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants the House to vote on the bill(s) by July Fourth. That is a very aggressive timeline, according to the former senior tax staffers who spoke today.
“I don’t think that is likely,” said one former senior tax staffer. “More likely is the end of September.”
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