Grassley Spins The Post Crazy

Bill Scher

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is whining that the new minimum wage compromise doesn’t have enough tax favors for business. From CQ Today (subscription required):

“The Senate package was barely adequate,” [Grassley] said in a statement. “I called it peanuts. The House package was puny. I called it a peanut shell. Now we have a single shriveled peanut. This package is stripped of a lot of meaningful tax relief.”

Yet Grassley managed to spin The Washington Post into reporting that he’s mainly upset that Democrats wouldn’t close more business friendly tax loopholes:

…Democrats have stripped out a variety of contentious tax measures that had been tied to the minimum-wage legislation, under pressure from some of the nation’s largest business lobbies.

Gone is a measure that would have restricted what executives and other highly paid employees can place in deferred-compensation plans, one of the most popular benefits in corporate America. Gone is a proposal to deny tax deductions for fines and penalties associated with lawsuits. And gone are measures to target a variety of corporate tax shelters.

The demise of these measures infuriated one of their chief sponsors, who yesterday accused Democrats of “caving in to K Street, pure and simple.”

“Frankly, I thought it would be easier to close tax loopholes and tax shelters with Democrats in control of Congress than Republicans, and I’ve been totally dismayed,” Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said in an interview. “Democratic leaders blew it for small business.”

That’s some major chutzpah from Grassley, attacking others for “caving in to K Street,” days after he led the filibuster killing legislation for lower prescription drug prices on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry.

And that’s some awful reporting by the Post, not even mentioning Grassley’s agenda of piling on more business tax breaks.

Also left out of the reporting is that the main reason those revenue raising provisions from the Senate were dropped in conference, is that the compromise amounts to a smaller tax package than the Senate passed, so the bigger offsets weren’t needed to keep the deal from increasing the budget deficit.

Should these loopholes be closed on their own merits, particularly the one for executives earning over $1 million? Of course. And the Post does report that Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., plans to revisit it. The minimum wage is by no means the only way to address loopholes. But for Grassley to pretend that he’s some crusader against the special interests on K Street, and for the Post to help with that fiction, is a sad joke.

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