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January 13, 2021

Senator Wyden details Finance Committee tax priorities

In a media call on January 13, incoming Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) detailed his economic and tax priorities for the Committee and said he wants to "roll back the corporate tax giveaways in the 2017 bill," end incentives to ship jobs overseas, reward companies that invest in the United States, and address what he said are the "many problems" with the structure for taxing multinational corporations created in the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (TCJA). Senator Wyden said he is working on a framework for corporate taxes and he will be sharing that "fairly shortly." He said there are many issues to deal with on the corporate side, including the rate and the treatment of multinational corporations.

Also in the near term, Wyden has been pushing for revival of the unemployment benefit add-on at $600 (the year-end Covid-relief legislation set the amount at $300).

Set to return to the chairmanship he held when Democrats lost the Senate in 2014, Wyden said he wants to work, as well, in a bipartisan way on infrastructure, reiterating that the issue should have been the first priority for President Trump. He continued to advocate for the Clean Energy for America Act that would consolidate the current 44 energy incentives into three technology-neutral provisions to encourage clean electricity and transportation, and energy efficiency.

Based on accounts of the call, on both corporate and individual taxes, Senator Wyden said the goal is for corporations and wealthy individuals to pay their "fair share" — a long-time Democratic principle — and roll back "giveaways" from the TCJA.

Wyden — who for years has called for parity in the taxation of investment income earned by wealthy Americans and employment income — said he will continue to work on his mark-to-market proposal, under which capital gains income would be taxed at the same rates as wage income and applicable taxpayers would be taxed annually on unrealized gains. Revenue raised from the proposal, Wyden said, would go to shoring up the finances of the Social Security program.

Wyden called for capital gains tax reform and said he is on the "same wavelength" as President-elect Biden, who has called for ending the lower capital gains tax rate for households with annual income above $1 million.

Senator Wyden additionally said he wants to roll back "giveaways to millionaires and billionaires" and close the carried interest "loophole." He spoke about the desire among Democrats to make changes to the Earned Income Tax Credit and make the Child Tax Credit fully refundable, which Committee members Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) have been working on.

Finally, Senator Wyden called for rebuilding the IRS after a decade of partisan challenges to the agency and budget cuts.


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Washington Council Ernst & Young
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