House GOP freshmen push for repatriation

The letter was sent to 4 top House Republicans – Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Dave Camp, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee – last week.

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It was circulated widely on Monday, the same day that Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) announced that his House tax holiday bill had attracted 100 co-sponsors – mostly Republican, but with more than a dozen Democrats signing on as well.

Repatriation supporters have unleashed a full-press lobbying campaign and have already gained the endorsements of prominent lawmakers like Cantor.

But repatriation holiday bills have yet to even make it past the committee stage. Supporters had also hoped that the supercommittee would take up their cause, but the panel was unable to craft a deficit-reduction package.

Under the most prominent repatriation bills in Congress, U.S. multinationals could get their tax bills on repatriated profits down to as low as 5.25 percent – well below the top corporate rate of 35 percent.

Supporters have said that American companies have more than $1 trillion abroad, and that repatriation is one of the few ways to inject capital into the economy that has support from both parties.

But critics have said that a tax holiday enacted in 2004 did more to spark stock buybacks than job creation, and have pointed to a study conducted by the Joint Committee on Taxation that found that repatration would lose tens of billions of dollars over a decade.

Camp has unveiled a proposal to permanently limit U.S. taxation of offshore corporate profit – a so-called territorial system – and it remains to be seen how that, and the broader push for tax reform, will influence the repatriation debate.

The Obama administration, for instance, has said it will only talk about repatriation within the reform discussion.

In addition to Guinta, Reps. Todd Rokita of Indiana, Richard Hanna of New York, Robert Dold of Illinois and James Lankford of Oklahoma helped organize the freshman GOP letter.