Congress must repeal tax breaks for the wealthy passed in CARES Act
© Greg Nash

Addressing the coronavirus pandemic and its economic consequences is our highest priority. Too many lives have been upended by the disease and the incompetent and halting response to it by the Trump administration. Unfortunately, we can always count on those with special interests to take advantage of a crisis, often out of the public eye. I am one of several members of Congress who object to the tax break for millionaires that was surreptitiously placed in the CARES Act by Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Democrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed | Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing | JPMorgan: Economy will shrink in first quarter due to COVID-19 spike Democrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Pence, Biden wage tug of war over pandemic plans MORE and Senate Republicans. I joined Rep. Lloyd DoggettLloyd Alton DoggettCongress must repeal tax breaks for the wealthy passed in CARES Act Ocasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts Trump order on drug prices faces long road to finish line MORE of Texas, Rosa DeLauroRosa Luisa DeLauroOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats push Biden to pick Haaland as next Interior secretary | Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing | Wasserman Schultz pitches climate plan in race to chair Appropriations Wasserman Schultz pitches climate plan in race to chair Appropriations DeLauro racks up labor endorsements for Appropriations gavel MORE of Connecticut, Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinDemocrats debate fate of Trump probes if Biden wins Congress must repeal tax breaks for the wealthy passed in CARES Act COVID-19 and the problem of presidential succession MORE of Maryland and Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseGOP breaks with Trump firing of cyber chief: Adds to 'confusion and chaos' Graham becomes center of Georgia storm Graham says he's talked to officials in two states about election MORE of Rhode Island and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOn The Money: Democrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed | Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing | JPMorgan: Economy will shrink in first quarter due to COVID-19 spike Democrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed McSally, staff asked to break up maskless photo op inside Capitol MORE of Ohio in April in introducing a measure to repeal these obscene tax breaks that have little to do with the pandemic or related business losses since pre-pandemic losses back to 2018 are made eligible.

Not only does our measure repeal the $25 billion corporate tax offset to which so many have objected, but it also repeals a second, much more costly tax break that allows the wealthiest business owners to offset business losses against their non-business incomes (i.e., income gained from investments, etc.) of over $500,000. This second tax break is set to cost the American taxpayer $135 billion over the next 10 years.

These tax breaks are patently unfair and are the kind of tax benefits for the wealthy like Trump and his business class that infuriate many members of Congress and breed distrust in the mass of taxpayers because they are skewed to the rich.

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At our urging, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiUS economy hurtles toward 'COVID cliff' with programs set to expire Democrats gear up for last oversight showdown with Trump Divided citizenry and government — a call to action for common ground MORE (D-Calif.) had the repeal language included in the updated Heroes Act the House passed on Oct. 1 as part of House Democrats’ proposed compromise COVID-19 response legislation. Unfortunately, Republicans continue to refuse to rescind this millionaire tax break, while simultaneously rejecting an expansion of child tax credits and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for low-income Americans. We need additional relief for both individuals and families struggling to make their mortgage, rent and utility payments and increased funding for small businesses trying to keep their staffs on payroll and stay open. We also need funding for state and local governments supporting our first responders and front-line workers like police, fire fighters and paramedics, sanitation workers, teachers, nurses and doctors. There is also a significant need of funding for defeating the coronavirus pandemic itself — through testing, tracing and treatment.

There is a lot of money being invested in this crisis in an effort to save lives and stave off financial disaster. It is important that members of Congress act as fiduciaries in protecting the public from those who cynically attempt to subvert resources needed to meet real humanitarian needs. I will continue to shine a light on these tax breaks diverting aid from carefully designed relief programs until they are repealed.

Cohen represents Tennessee’s 9th District.