The House Will Vote On The Pandemic Relief Bill On Friday.

Tomorrow looks like the day. House leaders seem to be teeing up a vote for the end of the week. Meanwhile, the Senate is trying to figure out whether a minimum wage hike can be included in the budget reconciliation bill and, if it can, how big it will be. The Senate bill will look much like the House measure, which looks a lot like President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

Senate panels postpone votes on OMB Director. Biden’s nomination of Neera Tanden to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget appears stalled, and lawmakers are circulating a new name. Two Senate committees postponed a vote on Tanden, who does not now have enough Senate votes for confirmation. So far, the White House is sticking by her, but Hill support seems to growing for an alternative: former House Appropriations Committee staff director Shalanda Young, currently Biden’s nominee to be OMB Deputy Director.  

Why will no Republicans support for President Biden’s pandemic relief bill? GOP Sen. Susan Collins blames Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain who, she says, oppose efforts to  shrink the $1.9 trillion bill. Democrats, of course, blame the Senate GOP leadership for failing to negotiate in good faith. Meanwhile, a new Economist/YouGov poll finds that 66 percent of Americans support Biden’s plan.

A VAT to pay for infrastructure? Sen Joe Manchin raised eyebrows yesterday when he suggested a Value-Added Tax to pay for a huge infrastructure bill that already is on the policy radar. Biden has rejected raising gas taxes (that would violate his no-new-taxes pledge on households making $400,000 or less). But the Senate Energy Committee Chair thinks a VAT could buy $5 trillion in new infrastructure spending. One idea West Virginian Manchin is not buying: A carbon tax. “[If] they want to have a conversation on how we improve our climate and do it in a most responsible way, yeah, they’d have me in a heartbeat. [If] they want to talk about this as a penalty — forget it, “ he told a Bipartisan Policy Center conference.  

How do some companies account for losses in US Tax Court? The short answer, according to a Wall Street Journal report (paywall): They don’t. Several companies, including Coca-Cola and Whirlpool, fail to tell shareholders about their new tax liability and instead declare they will prevail in court in the future. A more conservative accounting approach would be to recognize the cost, tell shareholders that the firm is confident it eventually will prevail, and reverse the costs later if they win an appeal.

New Jersey Governor Murphy releases a no new tax $44 billion budget. The budget includes  the state’s first full contribution to its public pension system in 25 years and provides income tax rebates for low- and middle-income families. It does not raise taxes or fees; For now, Murphy has given up efforts to raise taxes on cigarettes, gun purchases, and corporations with employees on  Medicaid.

Will Mississippi eliminate its state income tax? The Mississippi House passed a  repeal of the state’s personal income tax over ten years, cut the state’s grocery tax in half, and increased a number of sales taxes. Under the legislation, the  income tax phase-out would pause if the state does not bring in enough sales tax revenue.

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