When we were listed as the only Oregon organization calling on Congress to end the Millionaires Giveaway in the CARES Act, we decided to work on this issue. We are acting ourselves, asking you to act and urging our colleagues in other Oregon organizations to let our congressional delegation know: “We want to end the giveaways,” and we are watching them.
Yesterday, we saw the first step in a potential win for tax fairness when repeal of the ‘Millionaires Giveaway’ was included in the House Democrats latest coronavirus package, the HEROES Act. It’s an 1800-page bill. But there is an 80 page summary of the proposed legislation, and on page 18 of the summary, the giveaway provisions of the CARES Act are reversed! Friday the House will vote. Unfortunately, it will then go to Mitch McConnell’s Senate.
HEROES Act Would Close $135 Billion Loophole for the Rich Opened by CARES Act
Proving the power of an outrage-fueled reform effort, a $135 billion tax handout to the rich slipped into the coronavirus relief law enacted in March is slated for repeal in the latest pandemic measure unveiled yesterday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The HEROES Act would claw back the “Millionaires Giveaway” offered by the earlier CARES Act, ending a massive bonanza for the nation’s wealthiest noncorporate business owners created at the expense of millions of Americans suffering from COVID-19 and its resulting recession.
Nearly 225 organizations have denounced the tax break in a letter to Congress. Oregon’s place in the list grew from just Tax Fairness Oregon to include League of Women Voters of Oregon, Northwest Progressive Institute, One Small Thing PDX—Indivisible, Oregon Alliance for Retired Americans, Oregon Center for Public Policy, Oregon Women’s Rights Coalition, and Our Children Oregon. The list of national organizations of course includes groups like the Main Street Alliance, SEIU, National Education Association, Patriotic Millionaires, AFL-CIO and many others.
“This is a great victory for tax fairness,” said Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness. “We thank Speaker Pelosi and our allies in Congress for heeding the call of hundreds of organizations and thousands of online activists who demanded that this tax break be stricken from legislation that was designed to help struggling families, communities and health care workers—not line the pockets of wealthy business owners. We urge the measure’s speedy House passage and will wait to see whether Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Senator Grassley, the authors of this odious provision, will stand with working families instead of fat-cat campaign donors by supporting its repeal.”
And we thank those of you who picked up your phone, your pen, or clicked away on your computer to send messages to your Congressional representatives. Blumenauer and DeFazio were already co-sponsors of the House Bill. Since we all started pushing, Senator Merkley signed on as a co-sponsor of the Senate bill. Senator Wyden assures us he agrees the provisions should be accepted. And, Congressman Bonamici is reviewing the legislation!
As the top Democrat on the tax-writing Finance Committee, Senator Wyden will likely be part of the “insiders” group that negotiates on compromise legislation when the HEROES Act reaches the Senate. Let’s keep up the pressure on Wyden. It is ridiculous for the pandemic to be used as an excuse for enriching real estate moguls and private equity investors. The Senate MUST agree to eliminate the provisions the House has called out for elimination.