Levin said tax loopholes for corporations drain the U.S. Treasury and shift the burden to middle-class families. He specifically targeted tax loopholes that allow corporations to hold assets overseas, deduct corporate stock options and deductions for large oil companies.


“It is an absurdity that we allow money to be drained from our Treasury to go to these offshore tax havens,” Levin said on the floor Monday. “We can fix it, we can close them and do long-term good for the country.”

Whitehouse and Levin warned that if sequestration — now about $85 billion in cuts for fiscal year 2014 — takes effect more than 1 million jobs are predicted to be lost.

“Most importantly it will be a real blow to the economy,” Whitehouse said. “It’s a deadly serious thing, this sequester that is coming at us and there are much better alternatives.”

Levin and Whitehouse said the Cut Unjustified Tax Loopholes Act, S. 268, would offset the upcoming sequester solely through closing tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthiest Americans. Whitehouse said he recognizes that a balanced approach including both revenue and spending cuts was necessary but that by introducing these bills, he has proven that it can be done if Republicans are willing to negotiate. 

Republicans have suggested that the tax debate is over and that they will not agree to more revenue increases. The GOP is instead calling for cuts to entitlement programs.

Senate Democratic leaders are expected to release a different sequester replacement package later this week. The House has not yet passed a sequester replacement package during the 113th Congress.