This Week in Washington - October 27, 2021

This Week in Washington - October 27, 2021

October 27, 2021

There are two late-breaking developments in Democrats’ attempt to fund and pass the Build Back Better social infrastructure proposal.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) told President Biden and Senate Democrats that she was opposed to raising taxes to help pay for the President’s social infrastructure bill, and that left a gaping hole in the bill that they have promised would be fully funded. Yesterday, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Angus King (I-ME), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Warren-King-Wyden Corporate Profits Minimum Tax, which they say will “prevent America’s largest corporations from paying nothing in federal taxes.” The sponsors and supporters contend it would raise about $400 billion.

Senator Wyden, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, announced early this morning that he wants to start a “Billionaires Income Tax,” focusing on those with more than $1 billion in assets or who earn more than $100 million in three consecutive years. It would propose application of capital gains on the
appreciation of assets, regardless of whether those gains have been realized. Senator Wyden contends that this measure would raise $250 billion.

The Constitution restricts direct taxes. The income tax is the exception, and that was achieved by passage and ratification of the 16th Amendment. The legal future of this proposal is cloudy, but the legislative future is stormy. Both Senators Sinema and Joe Manchin (D-WV) are opposed to it.

This push and pull in the Democratic caucuses of the Senate and the House reminds me of the old line about the immovable object and the unstoppable force.

In this edition of This Week, Patrick Robertson’s Washington Whispers continues his excellent coverage of activity on the social infrastructure bill Democrats want to pass in the Senate using the reconciliation process, the bipartisan infrastructure bill, funding the government for this fiscal year, and the need to raise the debt ceiling. Congressman Erik Paulsen writes about why Senate and House Democrats must drop their proposal to control prescription drug pricing. Al Jackson shares his Defense Update, and Ramona Lessen provides summaries of two Congressional hearings – one on security issues in Afghanistan and central/south Asia, and a second focused on cyberattacks on planes, trains, and pipelines.