Alex Hendrie

Trump’s 90 Day Delay of Tariff Collection Will Help American Businesses

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Posted by Alex Hendrie on Monday, April 20th, 2020, 12:53 PM PERMALINK

President Trump recently signed an executive order delaying the collection of certain tariffs for 90 days. 

The proposal, published as an interim final rule by the Treasury Department and Customs and Border Protection, gives businesses that have faced significant financial hardship the option to defer payments of duties, tariffs, and fees for 90 days.

This is a strong step toward ensuring importers and manufacturers have the liquidity they need during the Coronavirus pandemic and builds upon past actions taken by Congress and the administration to help American businesses and workers during the crisis.

However, more should be done toward providing Americans relief from tariffs. For one, this proposal is only temporary relief. While it delays payment, businesses will still eventually owe these tariffs. 

In addition, the proposal excludes billions of tariffs recently enacted under Section 201, 232, and 301. These tariffs have been imposed on almost $400 billion worth of goods in the past two years, significantly increasing costs for Americans.

These should also be delayed, or permanently repealed as part of the response to COVID-19. This would have significant economic benefits.  According to research by Trade Partnership Worldwide, suspending these will increase the U.S. economy by more than $75 billion, or 0.4% of U.S. GDP.

The fact is, tariffs are taxes. They are taxes on American consumers and American producers who use imported products. They particularly fall hard on industries that rely on imported products as an input, resulting in higher prices, leading to increased costs for consumers, lowering wages and leading to fewer jobs for American workers. 

Moving forward, trade should be promoted as it is vital to the American economy and employment – more than 20 percent, or 41 million jobs in the U.S. directly tied to trade. 

The Trump administration should be applauded for delaying collection of some tariffs. However, more should be done to suspend and repeal all tariffs moving forward.  

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Intuit Aid Assist Will Help Small Businesses Apply for Pandemic Assistance

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Posted by Alex Hendrie on Monday, April 13th, 2020, 1:47 PM PERMALINK

In the face of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the private sector is taking steps to help American families, workers, and small businesses through the crisis.

For instance, software company Intuit has released “Intuit Aid Assist,” a free, interactive website designed to help small businesses determine their eligibility and apply for Coronavirus loans and grants created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The CARES Act allocated funding to the Small Business Administration to administer assistance to small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) relief programs. 

Implementing these loans has been a chaotic process due to the speed at which these programs have been created, and the high demand from small businesses for assistance. However, assistance is desperately needed as small businesses across the country are struggling to meet payroll due and keep their doors open due to a loss of income stemming from the pandemic.

Intuit Aid Assist helps small business navigate through the application process by providing key information including whether they meet eligibility requirements, conditions for accepting the loan, how much of a loan may be forgiven, and an estimate of loan amounts they can expect. For businesses that are eligible, the website provides information on how to apply for a loan.

This will help small businesses get the information they need to quickly and accurately apply for assistance. This tool is also just one of many ways that businesses are stepping up to the plate during the pandemic. For instance:

  • Companies large and small are donating supplies and retrofitting facilities to produce masks, ventilators, and other medical equipment. 
  • Pharmaceutical companies are working at record pace to develop a Coronavirus vaccine and manufacturers already have numerous clinical trials underway to develop treatments. In the meantime, companies are providing financial support and donating supplies to patients and organizations around the world.
  • Health plans are also stepping up to ensure American patients don’t have to worry about paying for Coronavirus-related health expenses. 
  • Technology companies are making it possible for millions of workers to videoconference and work remotely, as well as providing critical support for frontline healthcare workers. 
  • Technology companies are also helping ordinary Americans get through this crisis by waiving late fees, providing unlimited data for users, and helping employees stay afloat with expanded compensation programs. 

Photo Credit: throgers

ATR Releases Coalition Letter Urging Waiver of SBA "Affiliation" Rule

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Posted by Alex Hendrie on Tuesday, April 7th, 2020, 4:00 PM PERMALINK

ATR today released a coalition letter signed by ten organizations urging the Small Business Administration to waive the “affiliation” rules for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) established by the recently passed CARES Act.

If not waived, these rules will act as a direct regulatory barrier to job retention and creation at some of the most innovative and exciting companies in our economy.

As the letter notes, businesses have been impacted by COVID-19 irrespective of their ownership structure. Failing to include investor-backed businesses could threaten tens of thousands of jobs.

The SBA should waive affiliation rules in its final rule and Congress should permanently reform SBA’s affiliation rules in the next piece of legislation related to COVID-19.

The signatories also urge policymakers to reject calls to discriminate against investor-backed businesses through the PPP and the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF).

The full letter can be found here.

Photo Credit: Mr. Blue Mau Mau - Flickr

ATR Leads Coalition Opposed To Proposed "Buy American" Mandate

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Posted by Alex Hendrie on Tuesday, April 7th, 2020, 4:00 AM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist led a letter of 32 signatories in opposition to any proposal to impose “Buy American” mandates on medicines. 

If implemented, a Buy American mandate would disrupt existing supply chains, invite retaliatory actions from trading partners, and threaten timely access to medicines. In this current health crisis, such a mandate could even threaten our ability to adequately respond to the pandemic. 

See the full letter here or below: 

Dear Secretary Mnuchin, Director Kudlow, Leader McConnell & Leader McCarthy: 

 We write in opposition to any proposal to impose “Buy American” mandates on medicines.

 A Buy American mandate would place unnecessary sourcing requirements on medicines and medical inputs purchased with federal dollars. 

If implemented this proposal will disrupt existing supply chains, invite retaliatory actions from trading partners, and threaten timely access to medicines. During this unprecedented health crisis, a Buy American policy could even threaten our ability to adequately respond to the pandemic.

To be clear – increasing diversity in the supply chain should be encouraged. However, mandating production in America is the wrong way to do this.

The proposal risks upending the complex medical supply chain. This supply chain incorporates numerous inputs from across the world including raw materials, active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), and high precision analytical tools.

These supply chains frequently contend with a number of challenges including transportation and logistical obstacles, ensuring supply and demand are met, and alleviate stress caused to the chain due to region-specific disruptions in manufacturing or shortages. The ability of private industry to utilize a diverse global supplier base is essential to creating a healthy competitive advantage and mitigating risk.

Forcibly localizing this supply chain would be a substantial undertaking which would require finding new sourcing in the U.S. If there is no existing alternative, it would be a long process to set up an alternative.

Rather than restoring U.S. jobs, the proposal would likely lead to higher prices and reduced access. While proponents of a Buy American mandate have claimed the proposal is a way to bring back jobs to the U.S., it would almost certainly do more harm than good. 

Under a Buy American mandate, some estimates show that the costs of manufacturing could be up to five times higher

This is not unique to medicines. Buy American policies have increased prices for Americans whenever they have been tried. History shows that they restrict choices for consumers and manufacturers requiring inputs leading to higher prices or lack of access.

It is also important to note that the American pharmaceutical industry already contributes over $100 billion to the U.S. economy every year, directly supporting over 800,000 jobs. When indirect jobs are included, this innovation supports 4 million jobs and $1.1 trillion in total economic impact. 

 Pharmaceutical jobs are also high paying – the average compensation is over $126,000 – more than double the $60,000 average compensation in the U.S. Instead of destabilizing our innovation ecosystem with price controls, burdensome regulations, and heavy-handed government directives, we need to encourage advanced manufacturing capabilities with less government interference, lower taxes, and other incentives to maintain America’s global leadership in biomedical innovation.

A Buy American mandate could lead to retaliatory actions. Rather than mandating local sourcing requirements in the U.S. that could harm friendly countries and invite retaliatory actions, a better policy would be to seek the abolition of rules and requirements overseas that compel local sourcing to the disadvantage of U.S. manufacturers. Triggering a global reaction would stifle the pharmaceutical supply chain at the very moment where demand for medical innovation is most needed. Instead of warping the supply chain further, this would do more to level the playing field between regions.

We urge you to reject any Buy American policy on medicines. This protectionist proposal has no place in our healthcare system and will upend complex and efficient supply chains, leading to higher prices, threatening access to medicines, and opening the U.S. to retaliatory measures from other countries. 


Grover Norquist 
President, Americans for Tax Reform 

Jim Martin
Founder/Chairman 60 Plus Association

Saulius “Saul” Anuzis
President, 60 Plus Association

Dee Stewart
President, Americans for a Balanced Budget

Phil Kerpen
President, American Commitment

Steve Pociask
President / CEO, The American Consumer Institute

Ryan Ellis
President, Center for a Free Economy

Andrew F. Quinlan
President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity 

Jeff Mazzella
President, Center for Individual Freedom

Ginevra Joyce-Myers
Executive Director, Center for Innovation and Free Enterprise

Peter Pitts
President, Center for Medicine in the Public Interest

Gregory Conko
Senior Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Matthew Kandrach
President, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy

Fred Roeder
Health Economist/Managing Director, Consumer Choice Center

Yaël Ossowski
Deputy Director, Consumer Choice Center

Thomas Schatz
President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Hance Haney
Senior Fellow, Discovery Institute

Katie McAuliffe 
Executive Director, Digital Liberty

Adam Brandon
President, FreedomWorks

George Landrith 
President, Frontiers of Freedom

Mario H. Lopez
President, Hispanic Leadership Fund

Tom Giovanetti
President, Institute for Policy Innovation

Charles Sauer
President, Market Institute

Pete Sepp​​​​​​​
President, National Taxpayers Union

Sally Pipes
President and CEO/Thomas W. Smith Fellow in Health Care Policy
Pacific Research Institute

Wayne Winegarden, Ph.D.
Sr. Fellow Business and Economics/Director, Center for Medical Economics and Innovation
Pacific Research Institute

Lorenzo Montanari 
Executive Director, Property Rights Alliance

Paul Gessing ​​​​​​​
President, Rio Grande Foundation

Karen Kerrigan
President & CEO, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

David Williams
President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance 

Sara Croom​​​​​​​
Executive Director, Trade Alliance to Promote Prosperity

Amy Noone​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​Chairman and CEO, United Seniors for America


Photo Credit: Marco Verch

Pelosi’s Proposed SALT Cap Repeal Would Do Nothing to Address Coronavirus Pandemic or Help Middle Class

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Posted by Alex Hendrie on Tuesday, March 31st, 2020, 3:20 PM PERMALINK

In a recent interview, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Democrats will push to retroactively repeal or roll back the cap on state and local taxes (SALT) in a forthcoming Coronavirus stimulus package.

Rolling back the SALT cap would do nothing to help fight the Coronavirus, nor would it do anything to help the middle class. Instead, it would expand bad tax policy that subsidizes high tax, big government states. Rather than repealing or rolling back the SALT cap, lawmakers should repeal the SALT deduction entirely as part of legislation that offers broad based tax reduction for American families. 

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act limited the deduction for state and local taxes (including property taxes and either sales taxes or income taxes) to $10,000. 

Democrats claim this $10,000 cap raised taxes and that it erodes fairness in the tax code leading to double taxation because individuals are now paying federal taxes on income that was already subject to state and local taxes.

However, this argument is flawed. 

First, the majority of Americans are seeing tax cuts. The TCJA reduced taxes for roughly 90 percent of Americans and for taxpayers at every income level through lower rates, the expanded standard deduction, and the doubling of the child tax credit.

Second, the TCJA raised the income tax thresholds that the Alternative Minimum tax kicked in, meaning that an estimated 4.5 million families are now able to claim $10,000 in SALT deductions, which was previously disallowed by the AMT. 

Lastly, the majority of Americans were not deducting state and local taxes before the cap and are therefore unaffected by the change to the deduction.

Prior to passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, roughly 105 million American families took the standard deduction and deducted zero in state and local taxes.

This number has only increased since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubled the standard deduction leading to millions more filers taking the deduction over itemizing. Today, the majority of Americans – roughly 90 percent of filers, or 135 million taxpayers, instead claim the standard deduction of $12,400 for an individual and $24,800 for married filers.  Rolling back or repealing the SALT cap will therefore do nothing to benefit the majority of filers.

Raising or repealing the SALT cap would overwhelmingly benefit wealthy, blue states. In fact, 94 percent of the benefits from repealing the SALT cap would go to taxpayers making more than $200,000 a year, according to Joint Committee on Taxation. 

Even progressive leaning groups and lawmakers have criticized proposals to raise the cap.

For instance, the left leaning Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has stated that this proposal would be “regressive and costly.” The Center for American Progress has stated that repeal of the SALT cap “should not be a top priority” as it would “overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy, not the middle class.”

In addition, Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) recently criticized efforts to repeal the SALT cap noting that it runs counter to Democrat ideals: “We can say we’re for a progressive tax bill and for fighting inequality, or we can support the SALT deduction, but it’s really hard to do both of those things.”

Any effort to raise the SALT cap as proposed by Speaker Pelosi would do little if anything to benefit middle class families and would instead be a give away to high-tax states. This is another attempt by the left to put unrelated proposals in Coronavirus legislation and should be rejected by lawmakers.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Senate Coronavirus Bill Contains Important Tax Cuts for Individuals and Businesses

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Posted by Alex Hendrie on Wednesday, March 25th, 2020, 8:12 PM PERMALINK

The Senate Coronavirus emergency relief legislation, known as the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act”, contains numerous tax cuts that will offer individuals and businesses much needed liquidity during the pandemic.

According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the legislation reduces taxes for businesses by $275 billion over the budget window. In all, the bill cut taxes by almost $600 billion.

These broad-based tax cuts will give businesses the flexibility to meet expenses including payroll during this unprecedented economic and health crisis. Not only will this ensure individuals continue getting paid, but the tax cuts will also give Americans flexibility over retirement accounts and charitable contributions.

Specifically, the bill:

  • Allows businesses to carryback losses incurred in 2018, 2019, and 2020 for five years.
  • Broadens the ability of businesses to deduct net interest expenses from 30 percent of EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization) to 50 percent of EBITDA for 2019 and 2020. 
  • Fixes the “retail glitch” so that qualified improvement property can be immediately deducted instead of depreciated over 39.5 years.
  • Allows companies to delay paying 50 percent of employer payroll taxes until 2021 and 2022.
  • Creates a 50 percent employer payroll tax credit from March 13 to the end of 2020. Credit is capped at $10,000 of wages per employee per quarter.
  • Creates an above the line charitable deduction of $300 for 2020.
  • Waives required minimum distribution rules for 2020.
  • Allows penalty free distribution of $100,000 from retirement account for coronavirus distributions.

Photo Credit: ComputerGuy - Flickr

Democrats are Politicizing the Coronavirus to Push Liberal Priorities

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Posted by Alex Hendrie on Monday, March 23rd, 2020, 7:00 PM PERMALINK

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Democrats in the House and Senate are politicizing the Coronavirus pandemic in an attempt to pass a wishlist of far-left priorities.

Senate Democrats are refusing to begin consideration of bipartisan phase three Coronavirus emergency legislation and have blocked the bill twice since Sunday evening. This obstruction comes even as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called for the Senate to act “immediately” as recently as last week.

The proposal, known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, would provide much-needed liquidity for businesses and individuals. It would deliver relief to Americans that are struggling to pay their bills and ensure that medical providers have the resources they need.

Contrary to the Democrat talking points, the bill does not include a slush fund for corporations. Instead, it provides loans for businesses so they can continue paying their employees and meet other expenses. This is urgently needed and will help American families keep the lights on. In addition, taxpayers are protected. Since they are loans, they come with conditions and must be repaid.

Democrats continue to mislead on this provision and are claiming the bill helps corporations over middle class families. This is not true - the proposal also grants liquidity funding in the form of direct payments to small businesses and individuals.

Throughout the process, Democrats demanded the inclusion of several priorities such as increased funding for hospitals and medical services, increased funding for state and local governments, and increased funding for unemployment insurance. 

After negotiations, the legislation was amended to meet these requests. Billions and in some cases hundreds of billions in funding exists for these priorities. For instance, the legislation contains $250 billion in funding for unemployment benefits which will ensure an additional $600 in unemployment payments for recipients for three months.

The legislation also contains $75 billion in funding for hospitals, and funding for state and local governments in the form of loans through the supposed slush fund that Democrats have lambasted.

Over in the House, Speaker Pelosi has released a 1,200 page bill that goes even further. One of Pelosi’s deputies, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), said last week that the emergency is “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”

Democrats are now pushing countless proposals that are unrelated to the Coronavirus pandemic including mandating airline carbon emissions, prohibiting businesses that take loans from petitioning the federal government, wind and solar tax credits, and permitting federal employees to conduct union work on the taxpayers’ dime.

These proposals do not represent a good faith effort to deliver assistance to American families and businesses during the pandemic. Instead, it is an unabashed attempt to exploit the crisis to enact long-held liberal priorities.

Photo Credit: Victoria Pickering

Coalition Supports Senator Cruz’s Pandemic Healthcare Access Act

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Posted by Alex Hendrie on Monday, March 23rd, 2020, 12:30 PM PERMALINK

Update: Congressman Ted Budd has introduced the Pandemic Healthcare Access Act in the House of Representatives. 

ATR President Grover Norquist led a letter of 30 organizations in support of Senator Cruz’s Pandemic Healthcare Access Act. This legislation allows all healthcare plans to use Health Savings Accounts during the duration of the Coronavirus pandemic.

[Click here to read the full letter]

Currently, there is a mandate that any American wanting to open or contribute to an HSA must be on a high-deductible health plan.

Senator Cruz’s legislation would pause this mandate in order to help mitigate the pandemic by Americans in Medicare, Affordable Care Act health plans, TRICARE, the VA, Indian Health Service and any employer plan to use HSAs. It will also help individuals pay for their deductible or any increased health care costs, allow HSA funds to pay for direct primary care, and allow telemedicine below the deductible.

As lawmakers continue working through proposals to address the pandemic, they should support and pass the Pandemic Healthcare Access Act.

You can read the full letter here or below: 

Dear Leader McConnell: 

As you continue working to address the Coronavirus pandemic, we urge policymakers to temporarily de-couple Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) from high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) as has been proposed by Senator Cruz and Congressman Ted Budd in the Pandemic Healthcare Access Act. 

This proposal will help mitigate the public health crisis by allowing Americans in Medicare, Affordable Care Act health plans, TRICARE, the VA, Indian Health Service and any employer plan to use HSAs. It will also help individuals pay for their deductible or any increased health care costs, allow HSA funds to pay for direct primary care, and allow telemedicine below the deductible. 

HSAs are currently used by almost 30 million American families and individuals. They empower healthcare mobility and choice, reduce taxes, and are a powerful tool for savings. 

However, there is currently a mandate that any American wanting to open or contribute to an HSA must be on a high-deductible health plan. This restricts how funds can be spent and which plans qualify for an HSA. 

Ending this mandate would give millions of individuals and families access to a portable, tax-advantaged savings vehicle, that can be used on healthcare expenses. This will especially benefit high-risk populations like seniors that consume greater levels of care. 

Suspending the HSA HDHP mandate will help strengthen public health and ensure that Americans have access to the care they need at a time when they are required to self-quarantine to prevent mass infection.  As you continue working to mitigate this pandemic, we hope you will support this request. 


Grover Norquist 
President, Americans for Tax Reform  

Jim Martin 
Founder/Chairman, 60 Plus Association 

Saulius “Saul” Anuzis 
President, 60 Plus Association

Bob Carlstrom  
President, AMAC Action  

Phil Kerpen  
President, American Commitment  

Brent Wm. Gardner  
Chief Government Affairs Officer, Americans for Prosperity 

Robert Alt
President, The Buckeye Institute 

Norm Singleton  
President, Campaign for Liberty  

Matthew Kandrach 
President, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy  

Ryan Ellis 
President, Center for a Free Economy 

Andrew F. Quinlan 
President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity 

Jeffrey Mazzella  
President, Center for Individual Freedom 

David McIntosh 
President, Club for Growth 

Katie McAuliffe 
Executive Director, Digital Liberty 

Timothy Head
Executive Director, Faith & Freedom Coalition 

Adam Brandon  
President, FreedomWorks  

George Landrith 
President, Frontiers of Freedom 

Naomi Lopez 
Director of Healthcare Policy, Goldwater Institute 

John Goodman 
President and CEO, Goodman Institute for Public Policy Research 

Jessica Anderson 
Vice President, Heritage Action for America 

Dan Perrin 
Executive Director, HSA Coalition 

Beverly Gossage 
President, HSA Benefits Consulting 

Andrew Langer 
President, Institute for Liberty 

Heather Higgins 
CEO, Independent Women’s Voice 

Seton Motley 
President, Less Government 

Pete Sepp 
President, National Taxpayers Union 

CL Gray, MD 
President, Physicians for Reform 

Jonathan Bydlak 
Director of the Fiscal/Budget Policy Project, R Street Institute 

David Williams 
President, Taxpayer Protection Alliance 

Jenny Beth Martin 
Honorary Chairman, Tea Party Patriots Action 

Amy Kremer 
Chairman, Women for America First 


President Donald Trump 
HHS Secretary Alex Azar 
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin 
National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow 
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley 
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy 
House Ways and Means Republican Leader Kevin Brady 
All GOP Members of the House and Senate 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Despite Tax Deadline Delay, Taxpayers Should File Early to Receive Refunds

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Posted by Alex Hendrie on Saturday, March 21st, 2020, 1:15 PM PERMALINK

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration recently announced that they will delay Tax Day for three months – moving the deadline to file taxes from April 15 to July 15. 

This is good news. As noted by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, this will give businesses and individuals more time to file without incurring penalties.

At a time that many Americans are experiencing financial difficulties from a lost job or fewer work hours, this decision will help ensure much-needed liquidity to meet everyday expenses.

However, this should not be an excuse for Americans to sit on their hands if they are due to receive a refund, as a majority of taxpayers receive every year.

Taxpayers should file as soon as possible so that they receive their money back from the government as soon as possible. Failure to do so means extending the interest free loan that many individuals give the government from overpaying taxes throughout the year.

According to IRS data, almost three in four Americans receive a tax refund averaging $3,000. Despite this, many people wait until the last minute to file every year.

Based on prior years, an estimated 35 million Americans – or 25 percent of total filers – wait until the last two weeks of tax season (April 1-15) to file. Of these 35 million taxpayers, over half receive a refund averaging $2,000. 

This could equal to $35 billion that can be sent back to the economy -- money which the IRS owes taxpayers. At the best of times, this is a significant sum. At a time of unprecedented economic volatility, this injection of cash is vital.

While the administration should be praised for delaying the tax deadline, this should not be an excuse for needless delay on the part of American taxpayers. They should file as quickly as possible to receive the thousands of dollars they are likely owed -- a move that will collectively inject billions of dollars into the economy.

Photo Credit: Martin Haesemeyer

ATR Supports Russ Vought Nomination for OMB Director

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Posted by Alex Hendrie on Wednesday, March 18th, 2020, 5:00 PM PERMALINK

ATR President Grover Norquist today released the following statement in support of Russell T. Vought for the position of Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB):

“Russ Vought has been a champion of pro-growth, fiscally responsible regulatory reform, spending reform, and tax reform. He is the perfect choice to permanently lead the Office of Management and Budget and shepherd through policies that address Washington’s overspending problem and grow the economy. The Senate should swiftly confirm him to lead OMB.”

Photo Credit: The White House