Will Republicans Block Action On Corporations Abandoning The U.S.?

Dave Johnson

There is legislation before Congress to do something about corporations renouncing their US “citizenship.” The odds are that Republicans will block it — and not just because they have obstructed everything else.

There is a wave of news about corporations using a technicality called an “inversion” to renounce their US “citizenship.” An inversion is when a US company buys or merges with a non-US company, and then pretends it is no longer a US company. Today it’s Burger King. Not long ago it was Walgreens.

Keep Same Executives, Employees, Facilities And Customers

Even though an inverted company has renounced its US citizenship, the company keeps the same executives, the same stores or facilities, the same employees, and the same customers — right here in the US. The only things that changes is the company sheds certain tax obligations. The company still receives all the benefits of US roads and infrastructure, police and fire protection, courts, military protection, and the rest. The US still educates its  workforce and subsidizes its ultra-low wages with food stamps, Medicaid, and other available government services.

There is legislation to fix this problem. In particular, the Stop Corporate Inversions Act of 2014 has been introduced in both the House and the Senate.

Will Republicans Block Action?

Will Republicans block this legislation? Aside from the fact that Republicans have obstructed nearly all legislation of substance for years, there is precedent for Republicans blocking bills to end corporate tax loopholes. Here are a few examples:

  • In July, Senate Republicans filibustered the Bring Jobs Home Act. That bill would have ended tax breaks to help companies move jobs and facilities out of the country, and given companies a 20 percent tax credit for relocating business units back to the US.
  • In 2012, Senate Republicans filibustered a similar Bring Jobs Home Act, and filibustered a similar bill in 2010.
  • In June 2013, Republicans filibustered a bill to close “tax loopholes for oil companies, wealthy pensioners, and multinational corporations.”
  • In March 2012, Senate Republicans filibustered a bill “to repeal about $24 billion in U.S. tax breaks for the nation’s biggest oil companies.”
  • In May 2011, Senate Republicans filibustered “a Democratic bill that would have repealed about $2 billion in annual tax breaks for the five biggest oil companies.”
  • In December 2009, Senate Republicans filibustered legislation to “monitor and treat first responders and emergency workers who suffered illnesses related to 9/11,” because it was “paid for by a provision that would prevent foreign multinational corporations from using tax havens to avoid taxes on U.S. income.”

These are just a few of dozens and dozens of examples of Republicans obstructing legislation to close tax loopholes that let the giant corporations dodge, evade, avoid, and otherwise not pay taxes for the roads, courts, military defense, and other government services they benefit from. In fact, they have obstructed pretty much every effort to close corporate tax loopholes.

So … yes … Republicans will probably certainly obstruct efforts to stop these corporate “inversions,” in which companies renounce their US “citizenship” and pretend they are non-US companies. It’s who they are. It’s what they do.

Update – If true, this is another reason to suspect that Republicans might block doing anything about these companies renouncing their “citizenship:” Republican leadership personally profiting from tax inversion deals

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