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 DainesPerry replacement moves closer to confirmation despite questions on Ukraine Fallout from Kavanaugh confirmation felt in Washington one year later Conservatives offer stark warning to Trump, GOP on background checks MORE (Mont.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families What are Republicans going to do after Donald Trump leaves office? Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators at White House 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 NoemSouth Dakota drops pipeline protest laws after lawsuit New South Dakota law requiring 'In God We Trust' sign to hang in public schools goes into effect Trump: If I say I should be on Mt. Rushmore, 'I will end up with such bad publicity' MORE (R-S.D.) has been making an aggressive push on her bill on the subject in the House.

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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 WydenHillicon Valley: Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract in court | State antitrust investigation into Google expands | Intel agencies no longer collecting location data without warrant Intelligence agencies have stopped collecting cellphone data without warrants: letter Alcohol industry races to save tax break by year-end deadline MORE (D-Ore.) said in a statement last week.