Letter Opposing an Amendment Expected to be Offered by Sens. Webb and Boxer to H.R. 4213, the "Tax Extenders Act of 2009"
March 4, 2010
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses and organization of every size, sector, and region, opposes an amendment expected to be offered by Sens.Webb and Boxer to H.R. 4213, the "Tax Extenders Act of 2009," that would impose a tax on bonuses paid to employees at firms that received more than $5 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program because it would hamper efforts to resolve the ongoing financial crisis, restore economic growth, spur job creation, and is likely unconstitutional.
The amendment would impose a tax on payments from firms to employees made through contractual obligations, setting precedent that would leave every contract and business decision by companies that receive TARP funds subject to Congressional review and second guessing. As TARP companies work to recover from difficult economic circumstances, a potential Congressional veto of contract provisions would make other firms reluctant to engage in business activities with TARP companies.
The Chamber supported TARP and its intended purpose—to stabilize the financial system and unfreeze credit markets in the midst of an economic crisis. Several of the firms targeted by the amendment did not require TARP assistance but were strongly encouraged to participate in TARP by the Department of the Treasury in order to enhance the effectiveness and credibility of the program. With the punitive use of taxation to target specific companies, businesses would be reluctant to participate in future emergency programs. Such an outcome would limit the government's ability to manage crises in the future.
The Chamber urges you to oppose theWebb-Boxer amendment because it would likely hamper efforts to resolve the ongoing financial crisis, restore economic growth, spur job creation, and is likely unconstitutional. The Chamber may consider votes on, or in relation to, this amendment in our annual How They Voted scorecard.
R. Bruce Josten