April 16 might be tax day, but this year it’s also the start of the campaign season on Capitol Hill, with Democrats kicking off the fireworks by charging that a small business tax bill backed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor will benefit the likes of Kim Kardashian, Oprah Winfrey and smut publisher Larry Flynt.
The Virginia Republican is hoping to replicate the success of his JOBS Act — which was signed into law last week by President Barack Obama — with the small business tax measure, which provides a 20 percent tax break to all small businesses with 499 employees or fewer.
But with the election hanging over virtually everything Congress does now, Democrats were having none of that.
That this bill is helping small businesses is a “false claim,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said Thursday. Instead, it would “help a lot of Washington high-priced law firms and lobbyists and other companies that are doing fine.”
Instead, the ranking member on the Budget Committee advocated closing loopholes on multi-national corporations, such as subsidies on corporate jets and for oil companies, or giving incentives to companies who bring jobs into America from overseas.
“These devices that are used by multi-national corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes are ending up being paid for by everybody else in America, and that’s not fair. It’s not good for our economy,” he said.
Over the past several weeks, Democrats have also seized on the fact that the bill does not exempt certain types of businesses — such as Flynt’s Hustler empire or Kardashian’s reality television company — to hammer Republicans, and Democratic aides said they would continue to use next week’s planned vote to hit the GOP.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Thursday began circulating a release to media in some 60 GOP Congressional districts — including those of Michigan’s Dan Benishek, Minnesota’s John Kline and Chip Cravaack, Wisconsin’s Reid Ribble, New Hampshire’s Charles Bass, Colorado’s Mike Coffman and Scott Tipton, and Nevada’s Joe Heck — attacking the plan, which would provide a 20 percent tax break to small businesses.
In the release, the DCCC questions whether the various Members will support the “proposal to give more tax cuts to the richest people in the United States — people like Oprah Winfrey and Kim Kardashian — when it comes to the floor next week?”
Laena Fallon, a spokeswoman for Cantor, fired back Thursday afternoon. “The contrast couldn’t be more clear,” she said. “While Democrats are busy formulating their latest tax hike that will do nothing to grow the economy or create jobs, House Republicans will pass a tax cut to help 22 million small business job creators keep more of their own money so they can grow and hire again.”
Cantor has repeatedly dismissed the complaints, noting that he is using the Small Business Administration’s definition of a small business and arguing Congress has typically not chosen winners and losers when pushing broad tax cuts, such as his bill.