Adam S. Olsen- Washington, D.C.
April 6, 2021

The House remains in recess while the Senate will meet at 2 p.m. in a pro forma session.  The Senate will reconvene at 3:00 pm on Monday, April 12th and the House on Tuesday, April 13th, with votes at 6:30.

Three Senate Democrats unveiled a proposal Monday to raise taxes on multinational corporations as lawmakers begin to refine their plans to pay for President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure package.  The framework released by Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (Oregon) and Committee members Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Mark Warner (Virginia) generally agrees with what the administration proposed last week when it called for a host of tax hikes on corporations, though it differs on several points and includes additional details.  The plan outlines specifics of the United States international tax system, supporting Biden’s call to hike the tax rate on multinationals’ income from intangible assets like patents, known as GILTI and potentially increasing it to match the tax rate companies pay in the U.S., which would go further than what Biden proposed. He offered a 3:4 ratio between the two.  The Senate plan also endorses Biden’s proposal to change how companies calculate the tax so they can’t average their GILTI tax bills across all of their overseas operations, which tends to reduce their tax bills.  But while Biden proposed requiring companies to calculate the tax on a country-by-country basis, the senators suggest allowing businesses to split up their bills between high-tax and low-tax countries, on the theory that would be easier to administer tax liabilities.

Of note, the Senate parliamentarian has advised that a revised budget resolution can now include reconciliation instructions, opening a path for Democrats to pass spending legislation by a simple majority vote. Although typically budget reconciliation has been used only once per fiscal year, the ruling by the Senate parliamentarian will allow Democrats to use reconciliation as often as possible — paving the way for Democrats to use the reconciliation process for President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure bill.  Budget reconciliation, a parliamentary procedure to bypass the two-thirds requirement for legislation, was used to pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan without any Republican support.  However, now with Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruling that Section 304 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 can now allow for multiple reconciliation bills per fiscal year it may be used more frequently to move Democratic priorities. The parliamentarian is an expert on the obscure procedures of the Senate, and determines whether certain actions are permitted under Senate rules.  Reconciliation is not an ideal end-run around the filibuster. It can only be used for budgetary bills, and the parliamentarian has the authority to strip any unrelated provisions. This occurred recently, when the parliamentarian ruled that a provision raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025 could not be included in the American Rescue Plan.

President Joe Biden is expected to announce today that states should make all adults in the U.S. eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine by April 19th, two weeks earlier than a previous deadline.  Biden is set to make the announcement on Tuesday afternoon in remarks at the White House about the state of vaccinations across the country. Biden will also highlight a milestone in vaccinations, emphasizing that the U.S. has reached 150 million shots in the first 75 days of his administration.  Biden is expected to announce the new deadline later Tuesday following his visit to a vaccination site in Alexandria, Virginia. The deadline, though voluntary, applies public pressure to states that haven’t already expanded their eligibility guidelines.

Adam S. Olsen, Washington, D.C.