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Rep. Jim Banks

Photo by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

A group of more than 150 House Republicans is demanding to know why President Joe Biden, who once used a legal tax loophole, is now pushing to close tax loopholes. And the group's head is threatening to investigate the matter, if the GOP regains a House majority someday.

Indiana Rep. Jim Banks chairs the Republican Study Committee, the main coalition of House conservatives. In a letter on behalf of the group last week, he accused Biden of "hypocrisy" for using "a tax shelter strategy derided by the Left to avoid paying Obamacare taxes." Citing the Bidens' voluntarily released tax returns for 2017, 2018, and 2019, he noted that they received income through two corporations, avoiding self-employment taxes. Banks demanded to know whether the Bidens "intend to undo" this by paying more in taxes.

In a Fox News interview on Monday, Banks threatened to launch an Oversight Committee investigation into the Bidens' taxes if his party wins back the majority in the House next year.

"House Democrats used their oversight power to subpoena Trump for his tax returns, but they've completely ignored Joe Biden's abuse of our tax code," he complained. "When we take back the House in 2022, Oversight Republicans won't forget about Biden's legally dubious tax avoidance schemes."

Banks added: "Joe Biden advocated for expanding Medicare, and is pushing to close tax loopholes and for a $3 trillion tax hike. At the same time, 'Amtrak Joe' made $13 million through speaking fees in just three years, then skimped over $500,000 from Medicare recipients through tax loopholes."

Despite Banks' claims of questionable legality, the Fox News report describes Biden's actions as "entirely legal" and notes that the president has pushed to close these kinds of loopholes in the past.

And unlike his predecessor, Biden made his tax returns public during his 2020 campaign. Based on that information, the Wall Street Journal reported in July 2019 that Biden had used the loophole, while noting that the Obama-Biden administration unsuccessfully pushed in 2016 to eliminate that and other tax loopholes.

A campaign statement at the time defended Biden's actions. "The salaries earned by the Bidens are reasonable and were determined in good faith, considering the nature of the entities and the services they performed," the statement said, calling the use of the corporations a "common method for taxpayers who have outside sources of income to consolidate their earnings and expenses."

The GOP's letter comes after Biden pledged to increase taxes on corporations and on those who — like himself during his time in the private sector — earn more than $400,000 annually.

By closing corporate tax loopholes and restoring some pre-Trump corporate tax rates, Biden hopes to raise funds to help pay for his $2 trillion American Jobs Plan for infrastructure investments over the next decade.

Unlike Biden, Banks has opposed efforts to increase the tax burden of the wealthiest Americans. He signed a pledge never to raise taxes and even pushed to make Donald Trump's massive 2017 tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans permanent.

If Biden's infrastructure plan becomes law, it will provide trillions in investment in roads, bridges, broadband, water, transit, and other priorities — and support more than 15 million jobs over the next decade.

Trump, whom Banks backed, argued in 2016 that his own use of loopholes to avoid taxes was proof of his own brilliance and made him uniquely qualified to fix them. He did not do so.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, center, speaks with Speaker Nancy Pelosi behind him.

Photo by Kevin McCarthy (Public domain)

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

With the Delta variant of the COVID-19 coronavirus surging in the United States — especially in red states with large numbers of unvaccinated Americans — Capitol physician Brian Monahan is reinstituting a mask mandate for the U.S. House of Representatives. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is honoring that mandate, but House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, pandering to the GOP's MAGA base, is opposed. And when Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked about McCarthy's opposition, she had some scathing words for the California congressman.

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