Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Urges Repeal of Sec. 1071 of Dodd-Frank

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Posted by Adam Johnson on Monday, August 7th, 2017, 1:40 PM PERMALINK

In February of this year President Trump issued Executive Order 13772 which ordered the Department of the Treasury to develop a report relating to U.S. financial regulations and how to make existing regulation consistent with a framework of Core Principles set out by the Administration. In doing so President Trump sought to make the financial system work for everyday Americans.

Secretary Steven Mnuchin directed the Treasury to make suggestions within the Report that would drive the Treasury to become more in line with the set of Core Principles. One major conclusion reached within the Report was that Section 1071 of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act should be repealed.

Section 1071 was passed as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and while the rule still has yet to be implemented, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) under Director Richard Cordray has evidenced that a rulemaking will happen soon.

Section 1071 requires the CFPB to issue regulations that force financial institutions to collect and maintain data on consumers who apply for small business loans. Financial institutions are then required to report that data to the CFPB. Some of the data that is required to be collected includes the purpose of the loan, the race, sex, or ethnicity of the business owners, and if the businesses are minority or women-owned.

This regulation, while well intended, allows the CFPB to reach further into the private sector and would impose a new regime of unnecessary and burdensome costs that would hurt not only small financial institutions, but also financial consumers.

Section 1071 would increase borrowing costs for businesses, especially small ones, as the costs of compliance is passed through. Even though the CFPB’s reasoning for the rule is to prevent discriminatory lending practices, such practices are already against the law pursuant to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), as well as a plethora of state fair lending laws.

The U.S. House this past June passed the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10), which included provisions that would prevent this harmful rule from ever being enacted. However the Financial CHOICE Act faces an uphill battle in the Senate and CFPB Director Richard Cordray has made it clear that the rule is going to be implemented. Secretary Mnuchin’s suggestion to repeal this costly and duplicative rule is imperative for small businesses, their owners and the health of America’s small lenders. Lawmakers in Congress should follow suit.

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GOP Has Full Control of 26 States


Posted by ATR on Thursday, August 3rd, 2017, 10:15 AM PERMALINK

West Virginia governor’s switch from D to R means GOP has full control of legislative and executive branch in 26 states; Dems have full control in just 6 states

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (D) announced his intention to join the Republican Party, switching the state to full Republican control. The GOP now has full control of the legislative and executive branch in 26 states.

Democrats only have full control of the legislative and executive branch in six states.

Population of GOP-controlled states: 164,139,104

Population of Dem-controlled states: 50,190,213

Click here for a full size version of the map below.

 

 

 

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Seizing Civil Asset Forfeiture from the Feds

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Posted by Kyle Loeber on Thursday, August 3rd, 2017, 10:07 AM PERMALINK

Legislators are creating solutions for a persisting problem: civil asset forfeiture. This practice jeopardizes the financial security of law-abiding citizens by allowing law enforcement to confiscate their property. Americans for Tax Reform joins six other conservative organizations in a coalition letter that addresses the problem of civil asset forfeiture:

“Civil forfeiture is a process that allows property to be seized and forfeited without ever charging, much less convicting, its owner of a crime. Often, these seizures are justified by mere suspicion with little, if any, actual evidence tying property or currency to an illicit act. At this point, property owners must navigate a tortuous, skewed legal landscape that requires them to prove, in essence, their own innocence.”

In opposition to this policy, Americans for Tax Reform supports current efforts moving through the House of Representatives such as the DUE PROCESS Act and RESPECT Act. These proposals would increase the system’s transparency and raise the burden of proof to a “clear and convincing” standard, and make it harder for the IRS to steal money from innocent people’s bank accounts.

Authored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the DUE PROCESS Act is especially keen on protecting accused citizens. The bill focuses on the government’s responsibility to prove wrong doing and enforces recent policy changes at the Internal Revenue Service that would restrict their ability to seize assets without clear evidence.

The Respect Act, introduced by Rep. Pete Roscam (R-Ill.) speeds up the recovery process for assets taken when they have no relation to the allegations.

Ultimately, the federal government should be working towards criminal asset forfeiture procedures to protect Americans that have not been convicted of, or even charged with, any crime.

The legislation moving through Congress does not serve as a final solution, but certainly takes a step in the right direction. ATR encourages lawmakers to support these bills and other smart-on-crime approaches that defend our constitutional values by improving or enhancing existing statutes, while also saving money.

Read the full letter here 

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Now That Repeal Has Failed, Congress Must Stop Imminent Obamacare Taxes

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017, 5:39 PM PERMALINK

While Republican lawmakers promised repeal of Obamacare – including repeal of the one trillion dollars in new or higher taxes – it remains unclear when, or if this will be achieved. The Senate failed to pass legislation last month, and lawmakers have said they will move on to tax reform in the second half of the year.

Even as Congress and the administration pivots away from healthcare, there remains some issues that must be addressed this year, like ensuring that the Obamacare health insurance tax and medical device tax do not go into effect.

Absent full repeal, Congress must use the remaining months of the year to delay the health insurance tax and medical device tax so they do not go into effect in 2018 and increase taxes. American families, seniors, and businesses have already been hurt by the failure to repeal Obamacare’s taxes. The last thing taxpayers need is even more taxes to go into effect.

If the health insurance tax is allowed to go into effect in 2018, it will directly hurt middle and low-income families. In total, the tax hits 11 million households that purchase through the individual insurance market, and 23 million households covered through their jobs. Next year alone, the tax will total $14.3 billion, and over a decade the tax totals roughly $150 billion in higher taxes.

Half of the tax is paid by those earning less than $50,000 a year and it will increase premiums by $5,000 per family over the next decade according to research by the American Action Forum.

Not only does it harm American families, the health insurance tax is devastating to small businesses. As many as 1.7 million small businesses would be directly impacted  and the tax could cost up to 286,000 in new jobs and small $33 billion in lost sales by 2023, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.

While it is imposed on a narrower base of taxpayers, the 2.3 percent medical device tax is similarly harmful to small businesses. Medical device makers contribute $150 billion to the U.S. economy, and many are small businesses. Of the over 6,500 medical device companies in America, 80 percent have fewer than 50 employees.

If Congress fails to prevent this tax increase from going into effect, it could lead to more than 25,000 lost jobs by 2021. Over the next decade, this excise tax is projected to increase taxes by $30 billion.

Small businesses account for half of all jobs in the US and two-thirds of new jobs in recent decades, so the health insurance tax and medical device tax mean businesses across the country can spend less on investing in new equipment, hiring new workers, or providing higher wages.

Unless Congress acts, both tax increases will go into effect on January 1, 2018, leading to higher premiums and higher costs for middle class families, seniors, and small businesses.

Conservatives campaigned on lower taxes. The last thing that voters expect is for a tax increase to go into effect under the watch of GOP lawmakers. 

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ATR Supports S.J. Res. 47 to Repeal CFPB's Arbitration Rule

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Posted by Adam Johnson on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017, 10:20 AM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) President Grover Norquist this week sent a letter to Congressional lawmakers urging support for S.J. Res. 47 introduced by Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID).

S.J. Res. 47 would use the Congressional Review Act to block the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) rule relating to arbitration clauses.

Text of the letter is below and can be found here.

August 1, 2017

The Honorable Mitch McConnell           The Honorable John Cornyn       
Majority Leader                                       Majority Whip
317 Russell Senate Office Building         517 Hart Senate Office Building 
Washington, DC 20510                            Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Mike Crapo
Chairman Senate Banking Committee
239 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Majority Whip Cornyn and Chairman Crapo:

On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) I write to express ATR’s strong support for using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to reverse the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) recently published rule relating to arbitration agreements.

The CFPB’s arbitration rule would do little in the way of benefiting American consumers, and instead would result in a flood of class-action lawsuits putting more money in the pockets of trial lawyers. The arbitration rule would cost consumers billions and lead to a projected 6,000 class action lawsuits every five years.

According to the CFPB’s own study, average payouts to consumers after litigation was less than $2.00 per person, which is significantly lower that the amount awarded during the arbitration process. The same study found that only 20 percent of class-action lawsuits are approved and among those the average wait time for a settlement was roughly three years. This is compared to the arbitration process where the wait time is an average of only 6.9 months.

I urge you and your colleagues in Congress to support S.J. Res. 47 introduced by Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), which would use the authority granted under the Congressional Review Act to reverse the CFPB’s arbitration rule.

Sincerely,

Grover G. Norquist
President
Americans for Tax Reform 

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Foxconn Deal Demonstrates Success of Gov. Walker’s Reforms

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Posted by Shane Otten on Friday, July 28th, 2017, 12:30 PM PERMALINK

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) joined President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan at the White House this week to announce that Wisconsin has been selected as the location for Taiwan-based Foxconn’s first U.S. manufacturing plant. Foxconn, the world’s largest electronic manufacturing services provider, will invest $10 billion in a new facility, most likely in Racine or Kenosha county, that could create up to 13,000 jobs in the Badger State with an average salary of $53,875 plus benefits

The deal owes a lot of its success to reforms signed into law by Gov. Walker that have made Wisconsin more attractive to job creation and investment. Wisconsin beat out six other states for the Foxconn factory, which will produce liquid crystal display (LCD) screens. One of the states Foxconn passed over is Illinois, Wisconsin’s neighbor, and a state that is moving in the opposite direction from Wisconsin when it comes to fiscal policy. Illinois lawmakers have repeatedly raised taxes in recent years, imposing a massive 32% income tax hike earlier this month. Meanwhile, Illinois Speaker Mike Madigan and his caucus henchmen refuse to make structural spending reforms that are necessary to rectify the unsustainable growth of state spending or the state’s $130 billion unfunded pension liability.

Actions have consequences, so it should come as no shock that Illinois, given recent policy developments in Springfield, didn’t win this deal. While Illinois has become a less hospitable place to do business in recent years, Wisconsin has enacted reforms that provide tax relief, spending restraint, and regulatory reform, creating an environment that attracts investment and jobs from companies like Foxconn. Some of the top achievements under Gov. Walker include the following:

 

Other states, like Illinois, will continue to lose businesses, residents, and income if they keep stifling growth with higher taxes, heavy regulations, and a structural budget imbalance. Wisconsin, meanwhile, proves how conservative policy reforms that reduce taxes, rein in spending, and reform entitlements translate into economic growth and job creation.   

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ATR Comments on Joint Statement on Tax Reform

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Posted by Alex Hendrie on Thursday, July 27th, 2017, 3:59 PM PERMALINK

Today ATR President Grover Norquist released the following comments regarding the Joint Statement on Tax Reform:

“The joint White House, Senate, and House statement proves that tax reform is on schedule for 2017. Congress and the administration are in agreement on a tax reform plan that includes tax cuts and simplification for individuals, lower rates for all businesses, full business expensing, and territoriality. This bold plan is the key to unlocking at least three percent economic growth, creating millions more jobs, and giving American families lower taxes and more take-home pay.”

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The Top 20% of Households Pay 88% of Federal Income Taxes

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Posted by Alex Hendrie, John Kartch on Thursday, July 27th, 2017, 1:37 PM PERMALINK

According to the Congressional Budget Office:

 

-The top one percent of households pay 38.3% of federal income taxes and 25.4% of total federal taxes.

- The top 20 percent of households pay 88% of federal income taxes and 69% of total federal taxes.

- The top one percent of households pay an average income tax rate of 23.6% while the middle quintile pays an average income tax rate of 2.6%.

- The top one percent of households pay an average total tax rate of 34% while the middle quintile pays an average total tax rate of over 12.8%.  

- The top 20 percent of households pay an average total tax rate of 26.3 percent while the middle quintile pays an average total tax rate of 12.8%.

The data is shown below:

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Senate Healthcare Bill Should Repeal Obamacare’s Health Insurance Tax

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Thursday, July 27th, 2017, 8:51 AM PERMALINK

As the U.S. Senate continues to move through the process of passing healthcare reform, recent media reports have suggested lawmakers will move forward with a “skinny repeal” bill that contains a limited number of reforms.

Should the Senate go down this path, it is crucial that they include repeal of Obamacare’s health insurance tax.

Repeal of the Obamacare health insurance tax is critical because it is set to go into effect in 2018. If this is allowed to happen, middle class families and small businesses will be hurt with another tax increase. Ideally, the tax should be fully repealed, but if lawmakers are unable to agree on this, they should at least delay the date at which the health insurance tax is set to go into effect.

If the Senate fails to delay this tax, it will total $14.3 billion next year. Over the next decade, the health insurance tax totals $145 billion.

Repeal means strong tax relief for middle and low-income families. According to the American Action Forum, the tax increases premiums by as much as $5,000 over a decade. In total, the tax hits 11 million households that purchase through the individual insurance market, and 23 million households covered through their jobs. Roughly half of the tax is paid by those earning less than $50,000 a year.

In addition, the tax is devastating to small businesses. It is estimated to directly impact as many as 1.7 million small businesses. The National Federation of Independent Business estimates the tax could cost up to 286,000 in new jobs and cost small businesses $33 billion in lost sales by 2023.

Small businesses account for half of all jobs in the US and two-thirds of new jobs in recent decades, so this tax will mean businesses across the country can spend less on investing in new equipment, hiring new workers, or providing higher wages.

The last thing taxpayers need is for the health insurance tax to go into effect, even for one year. Lawmakers must make sure this does not happen and repeal, or at the very least delay the Obamacare health insurance tax.

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ATR Supports H.J. Res. 111 to Repeal CFPB's Arbitration Rule

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Posted by Adam Johnson on Monday, July 24th, 2017, 3:52 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) President Grover Norquist this week sent a letter to Congressional lawmakers urging support for H.J. Res. 111 introduced by Representative Keith Rothfus (R-Penn.).

H.J. Res. 111 would use the Congressional Review Act to block the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) rule relating to arbitration clauses, published by the Bureau this month.

Text of the letter is below and can be found here.

July 24, 2017

The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Majority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McCarthy:

On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) I write to express ATR’s strong support for using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to reverse the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) recently published rule relating to arbitration agreements.

The CFPB’s arbitration rule would do little in the way of benefiting American consumers, and instead would result in a flood of class-action lawsuits putting more money in the pockets of trial lawyers. The arbitration rule would cost consumers billions and lead to a projected 6,000 class action lawsuits every five years.

According to the CFPB’s own study, average payouts to consumers after litigation was less than $2.00 per person, which is significantly lower that the amount awarded during the arbitration process. The same study found that only 20 percent of class-action lawsuits are approved and among those the average wait time for a settlement was roughly three years. This is compared to the arbitration process where the wait time is an average of only 6.9 months.

I urge you and your colleagues in Congress to support H.J. Res. 111 introduced by Representative Keith Rothfus (R-Penn.), which would use the authority granted under the Congressional Review Act to reverse the CFPB’s arbitration rule.

Sincerely,

Grover G. Norquist
President
Americans for Tax Reform 

 

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