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House Democrats float tax compromises in coronavirus relief talks

By Paul M. Krawzak and Doug Sword, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON - House Democrats are offering several concessions to Republicans on pandemic-related tax items, including a temporary fix to the thorny problem of how teleworkers and others who work in multiple states during the pandemic should be taxed.

That pitch is part of a collection of tax proposals in a document obtained by CQ Roll Call that grew out of talks on a broader relief package between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The two top negotiators tasked committees of jurisdiction to begin hammering out compromises on lower-hanging fruit while they continue discussions on major hang-ups, like the amount of state and local government aid and business liability protections.

The House Ways and Means offer sheet amounts to a litany of provisions Republicans and Democrats agree on with one exception: House Democrats' proposal to roll back net operating loss provisions that were in the roughly $2 trillion March coronavirus relief law. Democrats say those breaks, worth about $150 billion, are a giveaway to wealthy households.

"Reserve discussion on NOL provisions," the document says.

The proposal also is silent on the issue of whether direct payments to households of up to $1,200 per person will also include undocumented immigrants without a Social Security number. The White House and Republicans have said Democrats' proposal to require only a taxpayer identification number is a nonstarter.

 

The one-page summary dated Oct. 20 was confirmed by sources familiar with the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A spokeswoman for House Ways and Means Committee Democrats declined to confirm the document's authenticity, but didn't dispute it either.

"While I'm not able to confirm the document, I can say that Democrats are serious about providing small businesses and workers with the meaningful relief they desperately need," the committee's communications director, Erin Hatch, wrote in an email. She also criticized Senate Republican's "unwillingness to come to the table and work with us" on the proposals.

Ways and Means Democrats have proposed a meld of provisions they've included in larger House-passed relief packages as well as Senate GOP relief legislation (S 4318) introduced by Finance Chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, in July that ultimately didn't get a vote.

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