Despite a White House veto threat, the GOP-led House plans to vote Friday on a bill making permanent a research-and-development tax credit for businesses — without offsetting the $156 billion cost over the next decade.
The White House and some Democrats who oppose the measure as-is have acknowledged they support the aim, but they won’t back the bill because they say it represents a case of political inconsistency — if not hypocrisy. They point out that Republicans continue to insist that an extension of long-term unemployment insurance be fully paid for.
Minority Whip Steny Hoyer told reporters this week that “we are for the R&D tax credit,” but that Republicans “are doing the right thing in the wrong way.”
Majority Leader Eric Cantor responded to the Democratic positioning by calling it “ironic” and proof that Democrats are “all talk and no action on jobs,” which he said the measure will help to produce.
Meanwhile, as a precursor to the floor vote, the Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday released a statement saying the president will be advised to veto the measure if it passes both chambers. The statement described the projected cost as adding to the nation’s deficit over 10 years “more than 15 times the cost of the proposed extension of the emergency unemployment benefits.”
But Cantor argued, “This has been a provision that has expired over and over again over the last 30 years.” He added, “This is one of the most generative things we can do from a policy standpoint that has been confirmed by independent economic analysis, to grow jobs and to have America work again for more people.”
Cantor noted that “the president himself has come out on record to be for the permanent extension of [the] R&D tax credit.”
In fact, in its statement this week, OMB did acknowledge that the administration would be supportive of making the R&D credit permanent — that is, if the costs of the bill were offset by such things as closing tax loopholes, for instance.
OMB even lauded the measure as one that would allow businesses to make investments now with confidence that they will be eligible for the credit in the future. And four-fifths of the R&D credit, the White House explained, is attributable to salaries of U.S. workers performing U.S.-based research — meaning that the credit helps create high-skilled jobs and encourages new innovations and future productivity.
But it also noted that House Republicans had passed a budget resolution that required offsetting any tax extenders that were made permanent with other revenue measures. Republicans “are rushing” to make business tax cuts permanent, OMB said, but are proposing to let other improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and tax credits for education expire.
“The administration wants to work with Congress to make progress on measures that strengthen the economy and help middle-class families, including pro-growth business tax reform,” the White House said. “However, making traditional tax extenders permanent without offsets represents the wrong approach.”
Hoyer complained that when it comes to feeding children and “helping people who are unemployed through no fault of their own, assisting people struck by a vicious storm named Sandy — then there’s a lot of discussion on the Republican side about, ‘we have to pay for things.’ “
But when it comes to tax cuts, Hoyer said, there’s a different GOP tune.
“This takes no courage to put on the floor or to vote for. None. Zero. Zip. Tax cuts are easy to vote for,” Hoyer said. “Paying for what you buy is difficult to vote for. And all of the wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth with reference to the deficit seems to go by the boards when the Republicans talk of tax cuts.”
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At the end of the debate, moderator Lester Holt asked Donald Trump if he stands by his statement that Hillary Clinton didn't have the look of a president. Trump responded by saying Holt misquoted him, instead saying that Clinton "doesn't have the stamina." Clinton responded by saying that when Trump visits 112 countries as secretary of state, he can talk to her about stamina.
Donald Trump, when pressed by Lester Holt on why he finally admitted that President Obama was born in America, repeated his widely debunked claim that it was started by Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton went point by point on how race can so often determine the treatment that people receive, mentioning recent shootings in Tulsa and Charlotte, calling for restored trust between communities and police, and demanding criminal justice reform. Trump responded by calling for law and order and touting his endorsements from police unions. He then said that “African Americans are living in hell,” saying they are just walking down the street and getting “shot ... being decimated by crime."
Just as Hillary Clinton was inviting debate viewers to visit her site for real-time fact checking, there appeared to be a problem with Donald Trump's own campaign website. For about a 15-minute period, a blank page or an error message appeared when we tried to load the Trump site.
Donald Trump has come out in the first segment of this debate raring to go. Trump has interrupted nearly every answer being given by Hillary Clinton, talking over her time and again. Clinton is sticking to her guns, smiling while Trump speaks and then calling on people to go to her website and see the fact checking being done.