03.06.03

Representative Barbara Lee Applauds Defeat of Pork-Laden Tax Fairness Act

Washington, D.C. - Representative Lee today applauded the House Republican leadership’s decision to withdraw the Armed Services Tax Fairness Act (H.R. 878) after Republicans filled the bill with special tax provisions ranging from foreigners betting on U.S. horse races to tax breaks on archery bows. Republican leaders refused to bring the bill up for a vote after they found that even Republican House members were reluctant to vote for what The Washington Post called "the lobbying mother lode."

The Tax Fairness Act had been intended to provide financial help to service personnel serving overseas. But the bill, under the control of Congressman Bill Thomas’ Ways and Means Committee, was loaded with extraneous tax provisions. In addition to the breaks provided for horse races and archery bows, Republicans added tax provisions for manufacturers of fishing tackle boxes and landowners who sell timber from their land, and they extended the amount of time allowed for ranchers to utilize a tax break for the weather-related sale of livestock.

"I wanted to be able to provide a little help for those people who have made and are making great sacrifices while in service to their country," said Lee. " But what the House had been scheduled on today had nothing to do with fairness. The real beneficiaries of this bill will not be our troops but rather special interests. This bill became a Christmas tree on which Chairman Bill Thomas apparently invited every Republican member of the Ways and Means Committee to string up their pet projects for $100 million tax breaks."

"How does it enhance our national security to offer tax breaks for foreigners who place bets on U.S. horse races? How will a tax break for the manufacturers of tackle boxes make our tax code fairer for our armed services personnel?"

"The Washington Post called this bill ‘the lobbying mother lode,’" said Lee. "I call it a national disgrace."

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