GOP senators: Don't include online sales tax bill in omnibus

GOP senators: Don't include online sales tax bill in omnibus
© Greg Nash

GOP Sens. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David Daines Embattled senators fill coffers ahead of 2020 Main Street businesses need permanent tax relief to grow Overnight Energy: Bernhardt confirmed as Interior chief | Dems probing if EPA officials broke ethics rules | Senators offer bipartisan carbon capture bill MORE (Mont.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzMichael Bennet declared cancer-free, paving way for possible 2020 run Booker, Harris have missed most Senate votes O'Rourke sweeps through Virginia looking to energize campaign MORE (Texas) on Tuesday urged their fellow lawmakers not to add online sales tax legislation to an omnibus spending bill, arguing that doing so would hurt small businesses.

"Omnibus can mean ominous for taxpayers," Daines said at a press conference. 

Some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are pushing for the omnibus to include legislation to allow states to require out-of-state online retailers to collect their sales taxes. Rep. Kristi NoemKristi Lynn NoemACLU sues South Dakota over pipeline protest legislation Kentucky House approves bill to let people carry concealed guns without a permit Journalists seek federal, state support for right to inform the public MORE (R-S.D.) has been making an aggressive push on her bill on the subject in the House.

Supporters of the legislation argue that it will allow states to collect money already owed to them and put online retailers on the same playing field as brick-and-mortar stores. They also argue that there's urgency for Congress to act now, before the Supreme Court acts on a case on the topic this year.

But Cruz, Daines and other conservatives argue that legislation like Noem's would be detrimental to small online retailers. 

"The internet sales tax would take small mom-and-pop internet sellers all across the country and subject them to the taxing authority and to the enforcement authority of over 9,600 jurisdictions all across the country," Cruz said.

The senators, as well as representatives from outside conservative groups, argued that online sales tax legislation is opposed by the public and should go through the regular legislative process. They also said that Congress shouldn't act before the Supreme Court rules.

"Congress could legislate in a way that's not actually responsive to what the court might do," said Andrew Moylan, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union Foundation.

In addition to conservatives, Democrats in states without sales taxes also oppose inclusion of online sales tax legislation in the omnibus.

"If passed, this would create an underground, nationwide, privatized tax-collecting bureaucracy," Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOn The Money: Inside the Mueller report | Cain undeterred in push for Fed seat | Analysis finds modest boost to economy from new NAFTA | White House says deal will give auto sector B boost Government report says new NAFTA would have minimal impact on economy Hillicon Valley: Washington preps for Mueller report | Barr to hold Thursday presser | Lawmakers dive into AI ethics | FCC chair moves to block China Mobile | Dem bill targets 'digital divide' | Microsoft denies request for facial recognition tech MORE (D-Ore.) said in a statement last week.