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 DainesCongress passes bill to require Senate campaign filings to be made electronically Congress just failed our nation’s veterans when it comes to medical marijuana Sanders: Public should be ‘very concerned’ about election security in 2018 MORE (Mont.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP candidate scores upset win in Texas state Senate runoff McConnell tamps down any talk of Kavanaugh withdrawal Cornyn takes on O'Rourke over AR-15s 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 NoemWomen candidates set nationwide records The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — 2020 hopefuls lead the charge against Kavanaugh Sunday shows preview: Trump stokes intel feud over clearances 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 WydenSome employees' personal data revealed in State Department email breach: report Hillicon Valley: North Korean IT firm hit with sanctions | Zuckerberg says Facebook better prepared for midterms | Big win for privacy advocates in Europe | Bezos launches B fund to help children, homeless Hillicon Valley: Trump signs off on sanctions for election meddlers | Russian hacker pleads guilty over botnet | Reddit bans QAnon forum | FCC delays review of T-Mobile, Sprint merger | EU approves controversial copyright law MORE (D-Ore.) said in a statement last week.