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Senators Push Against Burger King Tax Inversion

A handful of members of the Senate Democratic caucus are calling on the leadership of Burger King to abandon the idea of using inversion for tax purposes as part of the merger with a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain. "In August you and the Board of Directors of Burger King announced an agreement to purchase Canada-based Tim Hortons and move its corporate address to Canada, which will allow Burger King to avoid paying millions in U.S. taxes. We urge you and Burger King's Board of Directors to reverse your plans to invert and to weigh the long-term consequences this move, known as a corporate inversion, would have on a company that relies on U.S. taxpayers to profit and thrive," the senators wrote to Burger King CEO Daniel S. Schwartz. Democratic Sens. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, Carl Levin of Michigan, Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Sherrod Brown of Ohio signed the newest letter, along with Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt. "Burger King relies on U.S. taxpayer-funded roads and bridges to deliver its products, safety inspectors to ensure the food it provides is safe for consumers, and a robust trademark system to protect its brand," the five senators wrote. "Now, after profiting from these taxpayer-funded benefits, Burger King intends to move its tax address overseas to avoid paying its fair share for these benefits." The letter comes one day after Durbin joined New York Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer in unveiling anti-inversion legislation. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid earlier this week expressed doubt the chamber would touch the inversions legislatively in September. Earlier Thursday, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, criticized the rhetoric from the Obama administration and Democrats on Capitol Hill about inversions. "The President and some in his administration have recently paid lip service to the need to fix our tax code, but that's usually just a preface for arguments condemning inverting companies and calling for more 'economic patriotism,'" said Hatch. In an apparent reference to senators like Brown and Durbin, Hatch alluded to the Burger King case while speaking at the Chamber of Commerce event. "Indeed, there some people who seem far more interested in boycotting certain fast food chains than they are in working to actually address this challenge," he said. "If Congress is to act, I want it to act to make law." Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.