Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
New Democratic-led legislation aimed at penalizing those who would renounce their U.S. citizenship to dodge taxes has provoked fiery criticism from influential conservatives and is putting Republican leaders in a politically precarious situation.
Inspired by the actions of Eduardo Saverin, the Facebook co-founder who renounced his citizenship ahead of a large tax payment associated with the company's much-ballyhooed initial public offering, Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Bob Casey (D-PA) unveiled a bill Thursday to force such tax-dodgers to pay a 30 percent tax rate on all future U.S. investments and ban them from ever setting foot in the country again.
Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist compared it to the actions of Nazi Germany.
Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (IL), the Democrats' leading crusader for immigration reform, says he would support Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-FL) scaled-back version of the DREAM Act.
“If he’s got a proposal, I will work with Rubio, I’m telling you that," Gutiérrez told Fox News Latino. "I think he's sincere, I think he's genuine."
“Even if it’s watered down and does not grant citizenship, if it stops the deportations and doesn’t exclude them from becoming citizens, doesn’t stop that from happening, [then] yes [I would support Rubio's bill],” the congressman added.
The bill is a longshot at best, particularly in the Republican-led House. Rubio, who has yet to release the legislation, has been angling to blame the White House for its likely failure.
Just hours after Cory Booker undermined one of President Obama's key campaign messages Sunday, the Democratic mayor of Newark, N.J., reversed his criticism.
On NBC's "Meet The Press," Booker attacked Obama's recent ad criticizing Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital and equated it to bashing the president over Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
"I'm not about to sit here and indict private equity," Booker said. "If you look at the totality of Bain Capital's record, it -- they've done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses. And this to me -- I'm very uncomfortable."
"This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides," he added. "Stop attacking private equity. Stop attacking Jeremiah Wright. This stuff has got to stop."
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) disputed the White House's characterization that the GOP senator's version of President Obama's budget that failed 99-0 was not an accurate reflection of his proposal.
After TPM's story, Sessions' office emailed the following response Friday from communications director Stephen Miller:
"The White House is understandably desperate to minimize the astonishing repudiation of the President’s financial vision. What the Senate voted on this week was not an interpretation of the President’s budget; it was the President’s budget, introduced in the required form of a budget resolution and in keeping with the Congressional Budget Act. An open offer was extended to Senate Democrats to change anything they felt was not right in what we presented—no takers. Is the White House really suggesting that their budget has support in the Senate, just in some different form? Have they forgotten that the reason it fell on the GOP to offer up the President’s budget is because both House and Senate Democrats were unwilling to do so in the first place? If the White House believed their own spin, then they would have sent up a version of their budget in legislative form months ago and asked Leader Reid to put it to vote. They didn’t and they won’t, so we did."
The White House argues that Sessions' version of the budget lacks the specificity needed to ensure appropriators don't meet the targets in harmful ways.
But Sessions' office notes that prior to the vote, the senator offered his colleagues the chance to correct "any aspect of the budget" they thought was inaccurate. Democratic senators didn't take up his offer, nor did they put forth an alternative they believe is more accurate, which suggests they weren't interested in voting on the proposal.
Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin defended himself Thursday from harsh criticism for having renounced his U.S. citizenship in time to avoid paying a large sum in taxes.
In a statement to TPM from his spokesman Tom Goodman, Saverin said he'll pay the taxes on his earnings while a U.S. citizen.
"My decision to expatriate was based solely on my interest in working and living in Singapore, where I have been since 2009," the 30-year-old billionaire said. "I am obligated to and will pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes to the United States government. I have paid and will continue to pay any taxes due on everything I earned while a U.S. citizen. It is unfortunate that my personal choice has led to a public debate, based not on the facts, but entirely on speculation and misinformation."
Facing a barrage of attacks after a version of President Obama's budget failed 99-0 in the Senate, the White House pushed back Thursday with a simple response: Hold your horses, that wasn't actually our budget.
The White House faced harsh criticism from conservatives and liberals after the vote on the budget, which was put forth by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and used spending targets from Obama's budget proposal offered earlier this year. A similar bill by Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) failed 414-0 in the House.
"As with the Mulvaney resolution in the House, the resolution under consideration in the Senate is not presenting a vote on the President's budget," a senior administration official told TPM. "This is just a gimmick the Republicans are putting forward to distract from what the Ryan-Republican budget does: protects massive tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires while making the middle class and seniors pay."
New legislation announced Thursday aims to crack down on Americans who renounce their citizenship in order to avoid paying taxes. It would force them to pay a 30 percent tax on all future U.S. investments and prohibit them from ever setting foot in the country again.
The "Ex-PATRIOT Act" was unveiled in the Capitol by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Bob Casey (D-PA), who made no secret that bill was inspired by Eduardo Saverin, the Facebook co-founder who is in the news after renouncing his U.S. citizenship just in time to avoid paying taxes on a large windfall, and relocating to Singapore, which does not levy capital gains taxes.
"Eduardo Saverin wants to de-friend the United States of America just to avoid paying taxes and we aren't going to let him get away with it," Schumer said. "This is a great American success story gone horribly wrong."
Under fierce criticism for renouncing his citizenship in time to avoid paying taxes on a major windfall, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin issued the following statement on Thursday.
The statement in full, sent to TPM by his spokesman Tom Goodman:
My decision to expatriate was based solely on my interest in working and living in Singapore, where I have been since 2009. I am obligated to and will pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes to the United States government. I have paid and will continue to pay any taxes due on everything I earned while a U.S. citizen. It is unfortunate that my personal choice has led to a public debate, based not on the facts, but entirely on speculation and misinformation.
As a native of Brazil who immigrated to the United States, I am very grateful to the U.S. for everything it has given me. In 2004, I invested my life’s savings into a start-up company that initially was run out of a college dorm room. Since then the company has expanded dramatically, has created thousands of jobs in the United States and elsewhere, and spawned countless new companies across the United States and other countries.
I will continue to invest in U.S. businesses and start-ups, and believe and hope that those investments will create many new jobs in the U.S. and globally. I also hope that these investments will create opportunities for many other individuals to start companies and benefit society.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), who trounced Christine O'Donnell in a landslide in 2010, told TPM that by continuing to nominate hard-right candidates, Republicans are boosting Democrats' hopes of keeping the Senate majority.
"I think voters have shown over and over that whenever either party nominates people who are well outside the boundaries of the mainstream consensus of American politics, ultimately they're not successful in the general election, Coons told TPM in the Capitol Thursday. "And I think the outcome of the primary in Indiana may well continue to prove that pattern. For the people of Indiana to lose the service of Sen. Lugar, who has for so long been such a strong contributor on foreign policy, I think, will prove to be a real loss for them because I think this makes it likely that Congressman Donnelly will be the winner."
If not for tea party darling O'Donnell's primary victory in 2010, Coons may not be in the Senate -- he was otherwise set to face moderate Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), who was well-positioned to defeat him.
This month, Indiana GOP voters unseated longtime Sen. Dick Lugar in favor of State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, giving Democrats a chance to win an otherwise solidly Republican seat.