Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib propose amendment to defund administration of ‘opportunity zone’ program
Progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) this week proposed an amendment that would prevent the IRS from using funds to administer or enforce the “opportunity zone” program created by President Trump’s 2017 tax-cut law.
The lawmakers are proposing that their amendment be added to an appropriations bill that includes funding for the Treasury Department and IRS. The House Rules Committee is scheduled to meet Monday to determine which amendments proposed by lawmakers will be made in order.
Under the opportunity zone program, investors can receive capital gains tax breaks if they make investments in designated economically-distressed areas.
Lawmakers created the program in an effort to help low-income communities, and the provisions in the 2017 tax law on opportunity zones were based on bipartisan legislation. But Democrats have become increasingly critical of the program in recent months, following news reports about how wealthy people are benefiting from the program.
Tlaib introduced a bill in November to repeal the opportunity zone program. She said at the time that the program “fails to drive real benefits to low-income communities, instead often rewarding President Trump’s donors.”
Other Democratic lawmakers have offered bills that wouldn’t eliminate the program but would increase guardrails and reporting requirements.
Republicans back increasing reporting requirements about investments in opportunity zones, and continue to be supportive of the program.
Rep. Kevin Brady (Texas), the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, criticized the amendment proposed by Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib in a tweet Friday, arguing that the amendment would hurt poor communities.
Lawmakers have proposed a number of amendments to the appropriations bill.
An amendment from Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) and Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) would increase funding for the IRS’s operations support so that the agency has more capacity to address cases in which taxpayers have not yet received their stimulus payments.
Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) proposed an amendment to require political organizations that are ineligible for Paycheck Protection Program loans to return any funds they received under the program by Dec. 31.