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 MnuchinBiden brings back bipartisan meetings at the White House On The Money: Schumer urges Democrats to stick together on .9T bill | Collins rules out GOP support for Biden relief plan | Powell fights inflation fears Mnuchin expected to launch investment fund seeking backing from Persian Gulf region: report MORE and Senate Republicans. I joined Rep. Lloyd DoggettLloyd Alton DoggettHouse panel advances portion of relief package that includes ,400 checks Democrats urge repeal of business loss tax breaks in relief package Pediatrician killed in hostage situation at Texas medical center MORE of Texas, Rosa DeLauroRosa DeLauroPro-Choice Caucus asks Biden to remove abortion fund restrictions from 2022 budget Key Democrat unveils plan to restore limited earmarks Acting chief acknowledges police were unprepared for mob MORE of Connecticut, Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinDeJoy apologizes for mail delays while defending Postal Service changes Officer on Capitol riot: 'Is this America? They beat police officers with Blue Lives Matter flags' Considering impeachment's future MORE of Maryland and Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseFBI director commits to providing Senate information after grilling from Democrat Biden nominee previews post-Trump trade agenda Tucker Carlson bashes CNN, claims it's 'more destructive' than QAnon MORE of Rhode Island and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSenate confirms Rouse as Biden's top economist Democrats push Biden to include recurring payments in recovery package Padilla has 'big Chuck Taylors to fill' in replacing Harris 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 PelosiBiden coronavirus relief bill tests narrow Democratic majority Some Republicans say proxy voting gives advantage to Democrats Gun violence prevention groups optimistic background check legislation can pass this Congress 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.