Rep. Kristi Noem pushing for online sales tax bill in omnibus

Rep. Kristi Noem pushing for online sales tax bill in omnibus
© Greg Nash

Republican Rep. Kristi NoemKristi Lynn NoemTrump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore Thousands of bikers pour into South Dakota for motorcycle rally Governors' approval ratings drop as COVID-19 cases mount MORE, who is running for governor of South Dakota, is lobbying GOP leadership, senior appropriators and conservatives to attach her online sales tax bill to the government funding package, The Hill has learned.

Noem, a member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, pitched the idea to members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus during their weekly meeting on Monday night, lawmakers said. She has been telling her friends in leadership that her bipartisan bill allowing states to require out-of-state online retailers to collect sales taxes should hitch a ride on the $1 trillion government funding omnibus.

During votes on Tuesday, Noem was buttonholing appropriators and handing them literature about her legislation. As he stepped off the House floor, Rep. John CarterJohn Rice CarterDonna Imam wins Democratic runoff to face Rep. John Carter House panel advances bill banning construction on bases with Confederate names Democrats see victory in Trump culture war MORE (R-Texas), chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee on Homeland Security, said Noem had given him a one-page summary on her bill. He said he had not reviewed the issue yet and wasn’t ready to take a position.

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Despite Noem’s aggressive efforts, some of her GOP colleagues poured cold water on the idea that such a divisive issue could be linked to the must-pass spending bill.

“Anytime you have an omnibus bill or [continuing resolution] CR, there’s always a lot of talk about what’s gonna get on it. But what actually gets on there is much smaller,” said Rep. Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Key 48 hours loom as negotiators push for relief deal Illinois Republican tests positive for coronavirus The Hill's Campaign Report: Even the Post Office is political now | Primary action tonight | Super PACS at war MORE (R-Ill.), chairman of the Republican Main Street Caucus.

Noem’s push comes ahead of oral arguments in a Supreme Court case on the online sales tax issue next month. The court case centers on a law from Noem’s home state of South Dakota that requires certain out-of-state retailers to collect its sales taxes.

Noem was not immediately available for comment.

In a statement in January, Noem said the impending court ruling increases the urgency for congressional action.

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“If the Supreme Court rules in South Dakota’s favor, it could become a marketplace free-for-all,” she said. “A South Dakota small business, for instance, could be forced to comply with 1,000 different tax structures nationwide without the tools necessary to do so. My legislation provides a necessary fix.”

Noem’s bill, called the Remote Transactions Parity Act, would allow states to compel out-of-state online retailers to collect their sales taxes if the states simplify their sales-tax laws.

The measure has about 50 co-sponsors, both Republicans and Democrats, including Budget Chairman Steve WomackStephen (Steve) Allen WomackEx-CBO director calls for more than trillion in coronavirus stimulus spending Overnight Defense: Lawmakers tear into Pentagon over .8B for border wall | Dems offer bill to reverse Trump on wall funding | Senators urge UN to restore Iran sanctions Lawmakers trade insults over Trump budget cuts MORE (R-Ark.), GOP campaigns chairman Steve StiversSteven (Steve) Ernst StiversNational Retail Federation hosts virtual 'store tours' for lawmakers amid coronavirus Stronger patent rights would help promote US technological leadership Republicans to introduce House version of Scott police reform bill MORE (R-Ohio) and Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway (R-Texas).

A similar bill passed the Senate in 2013.

But the legislation has been criticized by some GOP lawmakers, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlattePress: Trump's final presidential pardon: himself USCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Immigrant advocacy groups shouldn't be opposing Trump's raids MORE (R-Va.), whose panel has jurisdiction over the issue. A House Judiciary aide said that Noem’s bill “is a solution that doesn’t resolve the issue of states regulating actions beyond their borders for the purposes of sales tax collection.”

Democratic lawmakers from states that don’t have sales taxes also have taken issue with online sales tax legislation.

Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsMatt Lieberman faces calls to drop out of Georgia Senate race over 'racist and discriminatory' tropes in 2018 book Sabato's Crystal Ball shifts Iowa Senate race to 'toss-up,' Georgia toward GOP Loeffler knocks WNBA players for wearing shirts backing Democratic challenger MORE (R-Ga.), a member of leadership, is opposed to tying the sales-tax bill to the omnibus.

“We need to have a bill that is worked out and voted on in committee,” said Collins, who serves on the Judiciary panel. “My staff says there are 50 things trying to catch a ride on the omnibus. At the end of the day, we’re trying to keep it as clean as possible.”