Prospects for a stimulus deal before Election Day may be fading again. Though President Trump claimed yesterday that Republicans want to make a deal before Nov. 3, both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and many Senate Republicans object to the White House’s latest $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief proposal. The Washington Post reports that “multiple GOP senators denounced the proposal, attacking the price tag as too big, questioning the overall direction and criticizing individual proposals.”
Or maybe not. In its latest move, the White House yesterday asked lawmakers to allow the administration to redirect about $130 billion in unused Paycheck Protection Program funding while talks continue on a broader relief bill. Administration officials made that request even as the president said he now wants a bill even bigger than the latest $2.2 trillion House version. The House is certain to reject the new plan. In just the past week, Trump has said he wants a big bill, then no bill, then a small bill, then a $1.8 trillion bill, and now, perhaps, an even bigger bill than that. Or not. The election, meanwhile, is in three weeks.
President Trump’s tax records show he got $21 million in highly unusual payments. The New York Times continues its coverage of President Trump’s taxes. It reports that in 2016 a Trump joint venture in Las Vegas that had no operating business, no employees, and no revenue made sudden payments of over $21 million to Trump. The partnership—with hotel owner and Trump friend Phil Ruffin—wrote off the payments as business expenses. Trump may have used the funds to help finance his presidential campaign, according to The Times.
TPC’s Burman: Congress’ budget process is a wreck and an outrage. TPC’s Len Burman writes that it was barely news when President Trump signed a continuing resolution last week to avoid a costly government shutdown. Hardly anybody noticed that the Senate failed to consider any of the 12 annual appropriations bills that are supposed to fund the government. “This failure of government was ignored because the federal budget process has been broken for decades … If we had higher standards for government performance, this level of incompetence would be a scandal.” The last time Congress passed all its spending bills on time: 1997.
Call for Papers for the 11th Annual IRS-TPC Joint Research Conference on Tax Administration. Areas of interest include measuring and influencing taxpayer compliance, estimating taxpayer compliance costs, tax complexity, improving tax administration, and understanding the nature and behavior of taxpayers. Proposals are welcome from government and non-government researchers from the US and abroad, and are due by Wednesday, December 2, 2020. E-mail your submission to: firstname.lastname@example.org with “proposed paper” in the subject line. Completed papers are due May 24, 2021. The conference will take place on June 24.
Get your Prescription this week. This Thursday at noon, TPC’s The Prescription features a conversation between TPC’s Howard Gleckman and Columbia University law professor Michael Graetz, a former deputy assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy. Graetz is author of many books, most recently The Wolf at the Door: The Menace of Economic Insecurity and How to Fight It, with Ian Shapiro. It offers tax and other policy solutions to the challenges faced by working-class Americans. Learn more and register here for the October 15 noon-time event.
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