In addition to the extra gift to corporate America Republicans slipped into the massive coronavirus bill, allowing the Federal Reserve to keep its deliberations secret, there's also a big tax break to wealthy taxpayers that somehow got into the bill without Democrats knowing about it. Two Democrats, Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Texas Rep. Lloyd Doggett, are trying to get to the bottom of it.
“It’s really scandalous," Whitehouse told CNN's Manu Rafu, saying it looks like an effort "to loot the American taxpayer" in the middle of a crisis. "There’s something rotten about that—something unAmerican about that." The New York Times reported that it did come from Senate Republicans who "inserted an easy-to-overlook provision on page 203 of the 880-page bill" to allow investors to "use losses generated by real estate to minimize their taxes on profits from things like investments in the stock market."
Whitehouse asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin where this idea originated, and Mnuchin claimed that the "bipartisan" Senate task force came up with it. Whitehouse says he has assurances that neither House nor Senate Democrats came up with this one. He wants to know who in the White House made sure it happened.
Since both Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner—as well as other "real estate investors in President Trump’s inner circle"—can benefit from the changes, Whitehouse and Doggett are demanding that Mnuchin provide to them:
- All communications from Jan. 1, 2020 to the present between the White House, Department of Treasury, or the Office of Management and Budget and any nongovernment person or entity related to sections 2303 or 2304, or the policies modified by those sections.
- All communications between the Department of Treasury and the White House, and between the Department of Treasury and the Office of Management and Budget, related to sections 2303 or 2304, or the policies modified by those sections, in the development of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
- All studies, analyses, proposals, cost estimates, or other information considered by the White House, the Department of Treasury, or the Office of Management and Budget related to sections 2303 or 2304, or the policies modified by those sections, in the development of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
Once again, Democrats cannot let themselves be steamrolled by Trump and McConnell into passing any more bills that they don't negotiate. One way or another, these Republicans are going to use this deadly crisis to steal everything that's not nailed down.