Dems urge more action on inversions

Democratic lawmakers urged the Obama administration to take a more aggressive stance toward the offshore tax deals known as inversions. 

Seven congressional Democrats in all called on Treasury Secretary Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewLobbying World Russian sanctions will boomerang Obama talks up Warren behind closed doors to wealthy donors MORE to take executive action against a technique known as earnings stripping that makes the offshore deals more attractive. 

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They also suggested that the administration essentially shame companies by publicly listing those that have reincorporated abroad to slash their tax bills, and to close loopholes that still allow inverted companies to get federal contracts.

"While we recognize that Congress can, and should, do more to strengthen our laws, we encourage you to take these executive actions to curb the manipulation of our laws and regulations and prevent the further erosion of our tax base," the lawmakers wrote.

Reps. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), Lloyd Doggett (Texas) and Sandy Levin (Mich.) signed the letter, as did Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinLegal immigrants at risk of losing status during coronavirus pandemic Senate rejects GOP attempt to change unemployment benefits in coronavirus stimulus bill Senators pen op-ed calling for remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic MORE (Ill.), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedOvernight Defense: Stimulus bill has .5B for Pentagon | Money would be blocked from border wall | Esper orders 60-day freeze for overseas troop movements Senate panel switches to 'paper hearings' amid coronavirus pandemic Rand Paul's coronavirus diagnosis sends shockwaves through Senate MORE (R.I.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenHillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike Democratic Senators urge FTC to prevent coronavirus price gouging Democratic senators call on FDA to drop restrictions on blood donations from men who have sex with men MORE (Mass.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Energy: Coronavirus package punts on environmental fights | Court sides with tribes in Dakota Access Pipeline case | Trump officials walk away from ethanol court fight Coronavirus package punts on environmental fights Overnight Energy: House stimulus aims to stem airline pollution | Environmental measures become sticking point in Senate talks | Progressives propose T 'green stimulus' MORE (R.I.).

They specifically mentioned three companies – Terex, CF Industries Holdings and Coca Cola Enterprises – that recently inverted as proof that Treasury needed to take further action.

Lew announced executive actions almost a year ago to make the offshore deals less attractive, and said the department would consider further action. 

Lawmakers have long urged Treasury to take a look at earnings stripping, in which a foreign company can get tax breaks for heaping debt on American subsidiaries. Under U.S. law, companies can deduct the interest paid on debt.