Countdown to Fiscal Cliff Bill
In spite of all the sturm und drang, the Republicans in the House have managed to dysfunctionally sidewind their way into voting on the Senate’s Fiscal Cliff bill rather than adding budget-cutting amendments that would punt the bill to the next Congress.
How helpful that this bill is something the bank and insurance industry has been furiously lobbing for:
Amid all the goodies for ethanol producers, NASCAR racetracks and the like, the tax-cut compromise legislation approved by Congress this month also includes a little-noticed sop for Wall Street banks and major multinationals.
And it only costs U.S. taxpayers $9 billion.
Under the provision, financial services firms and manufacturers can defer U.S. taxes on overseas income from a type of financial transaction known as “active financing.” Boosters say the two-year exemption helps level the playing field with foreign competitors by ensuring that U.S. corporations aren’t taxed twice.
Major business groups and financial companies consider the exemption a key lobbying priority in Congress, which has regularly extended it on a temporary basis for more than a decade. Those lobbying in favor of the policy include dozens of the largest U.S. companies, from General Electric to J.P. Morgan Chase to Caterpillar, records show.
Chuck Todd reports that the GOP vote count will be “north of 80″ if Boehner, Cantor & McCarthy all support it. If true it means that a majority of Democratic votes are needed to pass the bill. That means Boehner will be bringing the bill up for a vote without the support of the majority of his caucus, which violates the Hastert rule. But Boehner already violated that when he brought his own disastrous Plan B up for a vote.
This all feels vaguely like the bipartisan charade to pass TARP, which left everyone scrambling for a way to pass it while absolved of personal responsibility.
Update: Matt Stoller has more: Eight Corporate Subsidies in the Fiscal Cliff Bill, From Goldman Sachs to Disney to NASCAR