Alan K. Ota

Why Net Neutrality Isn't Dead Yet
The Week Ahead, Episode 83

Internet service providers say they'd like Congress to pass a law mandating net neutrality now that the Federal Communications Commission has rescinded the rule requiring them to abide by it. But the providers also want Congress to exempt them from broader FCC regulation, says Rick Boucher, a former Democratic representative who now works for the industry. CQ reporter Alan Ota says such a measure faces a tough road on Capitol Hill.

 

Businesses Say Foreign Payment Treatment May Breach Treaties
Provisions in House and Senate tax bills draw pushback

Business advocates are warning that provisions in the House and Senate tax bills aimed at discouraging offshore migration of multinational operations could trigger trade disputes and retaliation by trading partners because they conflict with tax treaties.

The Semiconductor Industry Association, representing big chipmakers such as Intel Corp., Texas Instruments Inc. and Qualcomm Inc., told Republican leaders in a Dec. 5 letter that it has trade-related concerns about two House and Senate proposals that target multinationals’ payments to foreign affiliates, including payments for parts and other goods used in manufacturing, royalties, interest and management fees.

Pai to Renew Push for FCC Reauthorization Before House Panel
Draft bill would authorize $322 million annually through fiscal 2020

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai plans to renew his push for a two-year reauthorization of the agency at a House hearing Wednesday. He says the reauthorization is needed to expedite spectrum auctions and to roll out a new generation of broadband.

Key lawmakers say Pai’s appearance, along with other FCC members, at a House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing will help to set the stage for moving the draft reauthorization legislation that was marked up by the subcommittee on Oct. 11. The subcommittee approved it by voice vote.

Sex Trafficking Bill Would Narrow Protections for Internet Companies
Senators say the bill is aimed at Backpage.com, not Facebook or Google

Senate Rules Chairman Is Cool to Campaign Ad Bill
‘A lot of that is being investigated,’ Sen. Richard C. Shelby says

Senate Rules and Administration Chairman Richard C. Shelby gave a cool reception Thursday to a bipartisan draft bill disclosed the same day that would require large online platforms to collect and disclose data about the buyers of political advertising.

“We will look at everything; right now, a lot of that is being investigated,” the Alabama Republican said about a proposal from Democratic Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and co-sponsored by Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Asked whether he would be open to backing the bill in the future or other legislation to deal with the issue, Shelby said, “Not yet.”

Top Republicans Pursue Blue Dogs to Back Tax Bill
Cuellar says details will be key in nailing down his support

President Donald Trump and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady are trying to woo fiscally conservative Democrats, as Republicans seek consensus for an ambitious overhaul based on the GOP’s tax framework.

Passing a tax bill with just Republican votes in the House is far from a sure thing, as some GOP lawmakers have said they want more details about the size and reach of tax cuts and the impact of contentious offsets such as the elimination of the popular deduction for state and local taxes.

Trump Reaches Out to Centrist Democrats on Taxes
Trump’s team has ‘some optimism’ that Heitkamp will support coming overhaul package

President Donald Trump is sending mixed messages to incumbent Senate Democrats up for re-election in red states as he and GOP leaders try to woo bipartisan support for a major tax overhaul package. 

With his public calls for centrist Democrats to support an emerging GOP tax plan, Trump has underscored his desire to cement a legislative victory before the 2018 midterm elections. But Democrats wonder if he is sincere or if he simply intends to attack them, as he did last week by calling out Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, during a tax speech in her home state. 

Trump, GOP Leaders Near Deal on Tax Principles

By ALAN K. OTA and LINDSEY MCPHERSON

Top Republican leaders said Wednesday they are close to a deal with the Trump administration on a broad set of tax goals that will guide overhaul efforts.

Podcast: How the GOP Is Shopping for Health Bill Votes
The Week Ahead, Episode 62

Republican lawmakers, by keeping two Obamacare taxes on the wealthy, hope to mute Democratic arguments that their health care plan would take away benefits from the poor to help the rich, say CQ Roll Call health reporter Kerry Young and tax reporter Alan K. Ota. But that doesn't mean that the wealthy won't get their tax cuts in legislation yet to come. 

 

Hatch Promises Open Process for Senate Tax Bill
Utah senator says all Finance panel Republicans will be involved

Playing Chicken With Trump’s Tax Returns
Saturday tax marches protest president’s refusal to release filings

Democrats and liberal advocates plan to use the annual tax filing deadline as a showcase to demand the release of President Donald Trump’s tax returns and to call for more electronic tax filing, as Republicans focus on a legislative overhaul.

Tax Panel Republicans Ask Trump to Dump IRS Chief
Letter to Trump comes ahead of April 18 filing deadline, continues efforts to force out Koskinen

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady and 14 other Republicans on the tax-writing committee urged President Donald Trump to replace IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, citing a need to restore trust in the agency.

The letter to Trump comes ahead of the April 18 tax-filing deadline and continues GOP efforts to impeach or force out Koskinen. He’s been under fire for misstatements to Congress and lack of cooperation in a probe of the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

Sanford, Jones Split With GOP on Trump’s Taxes
Two House Republicans essentially sided with Democrats on the issue

Updated 12:30 p.m. March 3 | Republican Reps. Mark Sanford and Walter B. Jones have occasionally bucked their party, so their stance on a procedural question this week about President Donald Trump’s tax returns is noteworthy. 

Sanford of South Carolina and Jones of North Carolina voted “present” on Monday night as the House decided along party lines, 229-185, to effectively block a vote on a resolution by New Jersey Democrat Bill Pascrell Jr. aimed at directing the Ways and Means Committee to obtain Trump’s tax returns for the past 10 years.

Club for Growth Singles Out Noem in Border Tax Fight

The Club for Growth has begun an advertising campaign aimed at pressuring Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., a tax writer, to oppose a contentious House GOP proposal to tax imports and exempt exports, the latest salvo in the battle to shape lawmakers’ attempts to overhaul the tax code.

David McIntosh, a former Republican representative from Indiana and now president of the conservative advocacy group, said he strongly opposed the plan’s call for border adjustments to taxes. The group still supports parts of the House GOP tax blueprint, issued by Speaker Paul D. Ryan last year, that would lower rates and end the estate tax.

House GOP Working Groups Sort Through Key Tax Issues
Ideas expected soon that could be included in tax legislation

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady is trying to avoid potential hurdles on the House GOP’s tax overhaul with the help of about five informal working groups of Republican tax writers, who are weighing whether to retain or reshape a number of items important to businesses and investors.

Brady, R-Texas, said he wants the working groups to deliver ideas soon that could be included in tax legislation. They are sorting through issues related to retirement savings, financial products, energy, education and pass-through businesses, such as S corporations and partnerships, whose owners pay individual tax rates on profits.

Obamacare Tax on Wealthy Sparks Battle Over Fairness
Charges GOP favors a tax cut for the wealthy

 Republicans and Democrats are squaring off in a fight over tax fairness as the GOP develops a timetable for repealing the 3.8 percent surtax on investment income under the health care overhaul.

GOP lawmakers have long argued for elimination of the surtax, or the net investment income tax, that applies to income such as interest, dividends and capital gains for individuals making more than $125,000 or couples earning more than $250,000.

Battle Lines Form Over Popular Mortgage Interest Deduction
Homebuilders, lenders concerned by parts of Trump’s tax plan

Homebuilders and lenders are preparing to defend the mortgage interest deduction as the incoming Trump administration and Congress weigh potential adjustments to one of the most popular tax sweeteners.

Treasury Secretary-designee Steven Mnuchin last week raised eyebrows on Capitol Hill and drew scrutiny from business advocates by pointing to potential curbs on the mortgage interest deduction in a CNBC interview.

Levin Leaving Top Democrat Post on Ways and Means Committee
Michigan representative wants to make room for younger members

Rep. Sander M. Levin of Michigan is stepping aside as ranking member on Ways and Means, opening the door to a competition for the tax-writing panel’s top Democratic slot.

Levin, 85, cited two reasons for not seeking re-election to the Ways and Means ranking position in a letter to colleagues.

Hensarling Seen to Vie With Mnuchin for Trump Treasury Pick
An architect of legislation with GOP ties or an emissary to Wall Street?

President-elect Donald Trump could face a classic choice between a Wall Street insider and a GOP strategist — investor Steve Mnuchin and House Financial Services Chairman, Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling — as he moves to replace outgoing Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew.

Trump advisers such as investor Carl Icahn and Stephen Moore, a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation, describe Mnuchin, Trump’s campaign finance director, as the front-runner for the Treasury post. But GOP allies of Hensarling — including Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, Sen. Ted Cruz and former Sen. Phil Gramm, all fellow Texans — say they believe Hensarling has emerged as a strong challenger after meeting with Trump on Thursday.

Trump‘s Treasury Hopefuls Steeped in Wall Street Experience
Some pushback from liberals expected

President-elect Donald Trump's potential candidates for Treasury secretary are being praised for their business experience, while consumer advocates are probing their past investments and work on Wall Street.

Steve Moore, an economic adviser to Trump, said in an interview that Steve Mnuchin, the Republican's campaign finance chairman and a former Goldman Sachs executive, would be a front-runner for Treasury secretary. Other potential candidates could include billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, chairman of a private equity firm, and Lawrence Kudlow, a CNBC commentator and former chief economist for Bear Stearns, according to Moore.