White House endorses online sales tax measure

The Supreme Court ruled more than two decades ago that companies only have to collect from in-state customers, but also said that Congress could weigh in on the issue.

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With that in mind, retail groups have long pushed for legislation like the Marketplace Fairness Act, saying it would close a loophole that gives online retailers a leg up on them.

Supporters also say that customers are already supposed to pay taxes on online purchases when they file each year, and that the proposal could give billions in extra revenue to struggling state and local governments. The bill would also exempt small businesses with less than $1 million in out-of-state sales.

“Because these out-of-state companies are able to cut corners and play by a different set of rules, the cities and states lose out on funding for K-12 education, police and fire protection, access to affordable health care, and funding for roads and bridges,” Carney said Monday.

A full three-quarters of the Senate – 75 lawmakers, in all – backed the online sales tax proposal when it was voted on as an amendment to the chamber’s budget framework last month. That vote was nonbinding, but supporters said it showed their proposal was gaining momentum.

The bill is now bypassing the tax-writing Finance Committee on its way to the Senate floor. Several senior Finance members – including the panel’s chairman, Sen. Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusBaucus backing Biden's 2020 bid Bottom line Overnight Defense: McCain honored in Capitol ceremony | Mattis extends border deployment | Trump to embark on four-country trip after midterms MORE (D-Mont.), and ranking Republican, Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTimeline: Trump and Romney's rocky relationship Key Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock Trump awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske MORE (Utah) – have expressed opposition to the legislation.

Influential conservative groups like Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and Heritage Action have also slammed the bill, saying it would be an unfair burden to force businesses to play tax collector for states where they don’t benefit from any services. The online retailer eBay is also an opponent.

Still, the issue does not break down cleanly along partisan lines. Several leading GOP governors, who have to balance their budgets each year, have endorsed the proposal, and top Republican sponsors in the Senate are also former state officials.

Top opponents – including Baucus and Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate Dems blast Barr for 'clear violation' of duty in Stone case, urge him to resign Overnight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case Harris, Castro introduce resolution condemning Trump aide Stephen Miller MORE (D-Ore.) and Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteGOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs Trump makes rare trip to Clinton state, hoping to win back New Hampshire Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE (R-N.H.) – come from states without a sales tax.