House Dems look offshore for highway funds

House Democrats are pushing a measure to stop offshore tax deals as a way to shore up the Highway Trust Fund.

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Reps. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) say their bill would raise $19.5 billion over a decade, giving a needed infusion to a trust fund that could go bankrupt within weeks.

Their bill seeks to limit U.S. corporations’ ability to shift their legal address abroad, and thus lower their tax bill.

Companies now can avoid U.S. income taxes if a fifth of the stockholders in the merged company were not a part of the U.S. business, but Democrats want to increase that figure up to 50 percent.

“This is a matter of job growth and tax fairness, combined into one important measure,” Levin said in a statement.

Levin introduced a bill on the offshore tax deals, known as inversions, in May, as did his brother, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.). Democrats have taken renewed interest in inversions ever since Pfizer’s attempts to take over AstraZeneca.

Lawmakers left Congress for the July 4 recess without reaching a deal on highway funds.