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Tlaib introduces bill to repeal 'opportunity zones'

Tlaib introduces bill to repeal 'opportunity zones'
© Aaron Schwartz

Rep. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibHouse Republicans introduce resolution to censure the 'squad' Progressives rally behind Omar while accusing her critics of bias Omar: I wasn't equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries MORE (D-Mich.) on Friday introduced legislation to repeal the "opportunity zone" program created by President TrumpDonald TrumpWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Poll: 30 percent of GOP voters believe Trump will 'likely' be reinstated this year Black Secret Service agent told Trump it was offensive to hold rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth: report MORE's tax law, as the program has received increased scrutiny from lawmakers.

The opportunity zone portion of the 2017 tax law provides capital gains tax breaks to investors who make investments in designated economically-distressed areas. Democrats have become increasingly concerned about opportunity zones in recent weeks amid news reports that have focused on how wealthy people are benefiting from the program.

“The American people have been scammed by Opportunity Zones,” Tlaib, a prominent freshman progressive lawmaker, said in a news release. “Opportunity Zones were supposed to help uplift low-income communities and those living in poverty, but instead we are seeing them benefit billionaires and their luxury projects.

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"Our communities deserve resources and programs with proven track records to thrive – the current Opportunity Zone law fails to drive real benefits to low-income communities, instead often rewarding President Trump’s donors," she continued. "We must repeal them to stop yet another form of corporate greed from hurting our communities and tarnishing our democracy.”

Tlaib's legislation is one of several bills focused on opportunity zones introduced. Other bills don't repeal the full opportunity zone program but are aim to improve it by increasing guardrails and transparency.

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDemocrats introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for government discrimination Lawmakers rally around cyber legislation following string of attacks Five takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision MORE (D-Ore.) and Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) have introduced bills that would terminate opportunity zones that aren't low-income and prevent investments in certain types of projects, such as luxury apartment buildings, from being eligible. There are also bipartisan bills to create more reporting requirements about investments in opportunity zones.

Republicans continue to be supportive of opportunity zones, and even many Democrats also back the goals of the program, like increasing affordable housing.

A White House spokesperson said earlier this week that the Treasury Department is still finalizing rules to implement opportunity zones, so "it’s premature to make drastic changes to legislation that so far has created amazing results." 

Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalOvernight Health Care: Biden touts 300 million vaccine doses in 150 days | Biden warns of 'potentially deadlier' delta variant | Public option fades with little outcry from progressives Overnight Energy: Lake Mead's decline points to scary water future in West | White House leads opposition to raising gas tax | Biden taps ex-New Mexico lawmaker for USDA post On The Money: Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle | White House rules out gas tax hike MORE (D-Wash.), co-chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, is co-sponsoring Tlaib's bill. The bill has the backing of several progressive groups, including The Partnership for Working Families, Take On Wall Street and Americans for Financial Reform.