COLOR OF THE WEEK: Reds and Blues

Its convention season! With the July 18 kickoff of the Republication National Convention and the Democratic National Convention around the corner on July 25, both parties are gearing up to ratify their party platforms. While Democrats take a step to the left, Republicans have taken a corresponding step to the right on various policies, from tax to healthcare and energy. So, just how different are the two party platforms? The chart below highlights key differences between Democrats’ and Republicans’ party platform drafts in selected areas:





“To guard against hypertaxation of the American people in any restricting of the federal tax system, any value added or national sales tax must be tied to the simultaneous repeal of the 16th Amendment, which established the federal income tax.”

“We will ask those at the top to contribute to our country’s future by establishing a multimillionaire surtax to ensure millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share.”


“We propose to level the international playing field by lowering the corporate tax rate to be on par with, or below, the rates of other industrial nations. We endorse the recommendation…to switch to a territorial system of taxation so that profits earned and taxed abroad may be repatriated for job-creating investment here at home.”

“We will make sure that our tax code rewards businesses that make investments and provide good-paying jobs here in the United States, not businesses that walk out on America. We will end deferrals so that American corporations pay U.S. taxes immediately on foreign profits and can no longer escape paying their fair share of U.S. taxes by stashing profits abroad.”


“Any honest agenda for improving health care must start with repeal of the dishonestly named Affordable Care Act of 2010: Obamacare. It weighs like the dead hand of the past upon American medicine…It has driven up prices for all consumers.”

“We believe as Democrats that health care is a right, not a privilege, and our health care system should put people before profits…By contrast, Donald Trump wants to repeal the ACA, leaving tens of millions of Americans without coverage.”


“We oppose any carbon tax. It would increase energy prices across the board, hitting hardest at the families who are already struggling to pay their bills in the Democrats’ no-growth economy. We urge the private sector to focus its resources on the development of the carbon recapture and sequestration technology still in its early stages here and overseas.”

“The best science tells us that without ambitious, immediate action to cut carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases across our economy, all of these impacts will be far worse in the future. We cannot leave our children a planet that has been profoundly damaged.”


“Government should not play favorites among energy producers. The taxpayers will not soon forget the current Administration’s subsidies to companies that went bankrupt without producing a kilowatt of energy.”

“Democrats believe the tax code must reflect our commitment to a clean energy future by eliminating special tax breaks and subsidies for fossil fuel companies as well as defending and extending tax incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy.”

Financial Services

“The worst of Dodd-Frank is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, deliberately designed to be a rogue agency. It answers to neither Congress nor the executive, has its own guaranteed funding outside the appropriations process, and uses its slush fund to steer settlements to politically favored groups.”

“We will continue to protect consumers and defend the CFPB from Republican attacks. Our goal must be to create a financial system and an economy that works for all Americans, not just a handful of billionaires.”


“The Dodd-Frank law, the Democrats’ legislative Godzilla, is crushing small and community banks.”

“We will also vigorously implement, enforce, and build on the landmark Dodd-Frank financial reform law, and we will stop dead in its tracks every Republican effort to weaken it.”


Appropriations Blues. As expected, despite earnest efforts, Congress has failed to pass all 12 annual appropriations bills for fiscal year 2017. Actually, not a single spending bill has reached President Obama’s desk for signature. Early this year, GOP leaders set an ambitious goal to pass a budget and all 12 spending bills under regular order. House Speaker Paul Ryan, however...

To the Right, To the Right… As the Republican National Convention kicks off July 18, the GOP is expected to release its party platform later today. The platform takes a major step to the right, calling for an overhaul of the tax code, slamming the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, opposing any carbon tax, and dubbing the Dodd-Frank Act the “Democrats’ legislative Godzilla.” The draft platform...

A Plan of His Own. Congressman Jim Renacci (R-OH) released a tax reform white paper, “Simplifying America’s Tax System,” which differs significantly than the plan just released by Speaker Paul Ryan and House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX).

Déjà vu: Homebuyer Tax Credit. On July 13, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced S. 3175, a bill aimed at helping individuals and families purchase their first home...

This is the Song That Never Ends... Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen has not heard the last of it, as House conservatives launched an effort to force a vote to impeach him after Congress’ seven-week recess...

DeFazio Introduces FTT. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR.) introduced a proposal on July 13 to impose a 0.03 percent fee onto stock, bond and derivatives trades in the U.S., in hopes that the fee would “discourage the same speculative financial trading that led to the 2008 Wall Street collapse and 2010 Flash Crash. ” DeFazio introduced similar legislation in 2013...

MAIL Act Approved by House Ways and Means. The House Ways and Means Committee approved H.R. 5320, the Social Security Must Avert Identity Loss (MAIL) Act of 2016, on July 13. Sponsored by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), the MAIL Act protects Americans from identity theft by requiring the Social Security Administration to remove Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from mailed documents when their use is deemed unnecessary. The legislation would also...

Clear Skies Ahead for Corporate Jet Owners. On July 13, the House Ways and Means Committee approved H.R. 3608. Sponsored by Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH), the bill exempts most payments for management and maintenance of aircraft from the Federal excise tax imposed on transportation of persons and property. Payments for flight services are exempt only to the extent that they are attributable to flights on an aircraft owner’s aircraft...


Senators Introduce Bill to Expand Sec. 45Q. Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) introduced legislation that would expand and extend the Section 45Q tax credit for carbon dioxide sequestration. The bill is similar to...

Summer Heat But No Sizzle at IRS Hearing. Last week, the IRS held a hearing where the speakers raised concerns with the controversial Section 385 proposed regulations. The hearing consisted of about 20 speakers representing various perspectives ranging from academia to businesses and trade associations. The recommendations made by the speakers were...

IRS Spins Off Further IRS Guidance On… Spin Offs. The IRS recently issued proposed regulations under I.R.C. § 355 clarifying the prohibition on devices designed to avoid tax and the definition of “active trade or business...”


A Pence for Your Thoughts. Last week, Donald Trump announced that Indiana Governor Mike Pence would be his running mate. Pence has favored a socially conservative agenda throughout his career, including laws to roll back...

Neck-to-Neck. According to a July 12 CBS News/New York Times national survey, Donald Trump is tied with Hillary Clinton, just over 100 days left until Election Day.

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  1. The American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union (AmCham EU), which represents 164 American companies that account for more than 4.3 million jobs and €2 trillion of investment in Europe, recently wrote a letter to the European Commission. The letter expressed the group’s...
  2. As Pennsylvania lawmakers try to figure out how to pay for their $31.6 billion state budget, Republicans and Democrats have agreed on a new tax to help balance the budget—a tax on...


Congressional Activities

** Congress in recess until Sept. 6**

Agency Activities

Tuesday, 7/19

Securities and Exchange Commission

The SEC holds a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies on matters relating to rules and regulations affecting small and emerging companies under the federal securities laws.

Wednesday, 7/20

Internal Revenue Service

The IRS holds a meeting by teleconference of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Toll-Free Phone Line Project Committee on improving customer service at the Internal Revenue Service. For more information, contact Linda Rivera, 202-317-3337.

Thursday, 7/21

Internal Revenue Service

The IRS holds a meeting by teleconference of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel Taxpayer Communications Project Committee on improving customer service at the Internal Revenue Service. For more information, contact Antoinette Ross, 202-317-4110.

Other Activities

Wednesday, 7/20

Bipartisan Policy Center

The Bipartisan Policy Center holds a forum on "Priorities, Policies, Solutions," focusing on "entrepreneurship and economic growth, infrastructure and energy policy, global competitiveness and tax policy, and medical and health innovation." For more information, contact Jordan Lapier, 202-379-1630,