Live Updates: After Report on Tax Payments of Richest Americans, Congress Reconsiders Code

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

An overwhelming report by ProPublica detailed how America’s Richest Men Avoided Paying Taxes has intensified Congressional interest, even among some Republicans, in changing the tax code to ensure that the likes of Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett pay their fair share.

For Republicans, the idea that tax law would give preferential treatment to investment was sacred, ostensibly to promote economic growth and innovation that could benefit all. But this week’s news showed how the treatment of stocks, bonds, real estate and massive loans taken from those assets has plummeted the tax bills of the wealthiest Americans.

“My intention as the author of the 2017 tax reform was not that multibillionaires shouldn’t pay taxes,” said Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, who helped write the bill that cut taxes by more than $1 trillion. . “I believe that dividends and capital gains should be taxed at a lower rate, but certainly not at zero.”

Democrats, especially in the Senate, have been working hard on a tax package to fund President Biden’s Precious Domestic Agenda, including a major infrastructure plan, action against climate change and the expansion of education and health care benefits. Much of that work — vehemently opposed to Republicans — has focused on reclaiming tax cuts passed by the tax law 2017, President Donald J. Trump’s signature legislative achievementand about prevention multinational companies of shifting taxable profits abroad.

The ProPublica report, which analyzed a wealth of documents analyzing the tax bills of household names such as Mr. Bezos, Mr. Buffett, Elon Musk and Michael Bloomberg, showed that the nation’s richest executives spend only a fraction of their wealth. paid taxes – $13.6 billion in federal income taxes over a period when their collective net worth increased by $401 billion, according to a table from Forbes.

“Americans knew billionaires were playing these kinds of games,” Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, the chairman of the finance committee that writes the tax, said Wednesday. “What was important yesterday was that it was all laid out in great detail about the most affluent people in America.”

He said he was working on a series of proposals to address the issue, possibly including a return to some sort of minimum tax, and would be unveiling specific proposals soon.

“Billionaires will have to pay their share every year,” he said.




Garland defends DOJ moves to maintain Trump-era positions

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said Wednesday the Justice Department’s moves to uphold Trump-era positions were consistent with the rule of law.

“Look, the job of the Justice Department in making legal decisions is not to support a government, past or present. Our job is to represent the American people, and our job in doing so is to ensure that the rule of law is upheld, which is the fundamental requirement of a democracy or a republic or a representative democracy. And the essence of the rule of law is what I said when I accepted the attorney general nomination. It is that like cases are treated equally, that there is not one rule for Democrats and another for Republicans, that there is not one rule for friends and another for enemies.” “Sometimes it means we have to make a decision about the law that we would never have made and which we strongly disagree with politically. But in all cases it is the job of the Ministry of Justice to make the best possible assessment of what the law requires.”

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Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said Wednesday the Justice Department’s moves to uphold Trump-era positions were consistent with the rule of law.CreditCredit…Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland on Wednesday defended recent Justice Department measures to defend Trump’s positions on controversial cases, vowing to continue to uphold the rule of law regardless of political pressure.

“The essence of the rule of law is what I said when I accepted the attorney general’s appointment,” Mr. Garland said during a budget hearing before the Senate credit committee, adding that his goal was to ensure that there were “No rule for Democrats and another for Republicans, that there isn’t one rule for friends and another for enemies.”

Mr Garland continues: “It is not always easy to apply that rule. Sometimes it means we have to make a decision about the law that we would never have made and which we strongly disagree with politically.”

the Ministry of Justice defended Monday took a legal stand under the Trump administration in a case involving E. Jean Carroll, a writer who in 2019 publicly accused former President Donald J. Trump of sexually abusing her 25 years earlier.

mr. Trump denied the attack in an Oval Office interview and said he couldn’t have attacked her because she wasn’t his “type.” After Mrs Carroll sued him on the comments, the Justice Department argued that Mr. Trump could not be held liable for defamation because he made the statements as part of his official duties as president.

In the letter filed Monday with a federal appeals court in New York, Mr. Garland’s Justice Department called Mr. Trump’s comments “brutal and disrespectful,” but said his administration had rightly argued that he was not they could be sued.

Should the Justice Department prevail, Mrs. Carroll’s lawsuit could be dismissed.

The appeal stunned Democrats, as did another Justice Department argument in May when it… tried to hide a memo regarding Mr. Barr’s determination that Mr. Trump had not unlawfully obstructed justice in the Russia investigation.

While the department released the first page and a half of the nine page memo, it argued that the entire document had to be hidden from view because it contained information that was part of the department’s decision-making process, and that such information could legitimately be kept secret.

Mr Garland said he was aware of the criticism but defended his actions.

“The job of the Justice Department in making legal decisions is not to support a government, past or present,” he said.

President Biden and Dr.  Jill Biden will arrive at Cornwall Airport Newquay on Wednesday.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

It was only two years ago, in the heat of the US presidential election, that President Biden called Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Great Britain a “physical and emotional clone” of President Donald J. Trump.

He didn’t mean it as a compliment.

But as the two custodians of the “special relationship” between Britain and the United States prepare to meet for the first time since Mr Biden took office, they will highlight the alliance’s lasting strength.

They are expected to highlight a shared vision for a sustainable global recovery from the pandemic and will evoke the two nations’ powerful shared histories to bring the point forward.

Mr. Biden and Mr. Johnson are expected to announce what is being billed as a renewal of the Atlantic Charter – the statement of post-war cooperation that Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt drafted in 1941 during World War II.

Yet the fundamental problems that divide them remain.

Mr Biden opposed Britain’s push to leave the European Union, a push Mr Johnson helped lead. The US president is also concerned about Northern Ireland, as the Brexit deal has fueled tensions and threatened to flare up sectarian tensions.

“President Biden has been crystal clear about his unwavering belief in the Good Friday Agreement as the basis for peaceful coexistence in Northern Ireland,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One on Wednesday. referring to the 1998 agreement which contributed to peace in the area, which is part of the United Kingdom.

Mr Biden and Mr Johnson will meet Thursday afternoon in Cornwall’s Carbis Bay, ahead of Friday’s meeting of the Group of 7 Leading Industrial Countries.

It’s the start of a whirlwind week-long tour that includes meetings with Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday, NATO officials and European Union leaders next week, plus a summit with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

Biden began his first overseas trip as president on Wednesday night by telling United States troops in Britain that the future of the world depended on restoring long-standing alliances with Europe that have been “hardened in the fires of war.” and built by “generations of Americans.”

Speaking to troops at RAF Mildenhall, he called his week-long diplomatic overture “essential”, saying that no country acting alone can meet the challenges of the world. But he also vowed to face adversaries like China and Russia, promising to tell Mr Putin “what I want him to know”.

On the eve of a meeting with European leaders shocked by Russia’s aggressive troop movement along Ukraine’s borders, Mr Biden pledged to “respond in a forceful and meaningful way” to what he called “harmful activities” by Mr Putin. .

Biden also cast his journey in broader terms as an attempt to unite the United States and its allies in an existential struggle between democracy and autocracy.

“I believe we are at a turning point in world history,” Mr Biden said, “a moment when it is up to us to prove that democracies not only stand, but that they will excel as we rise to huge opportunities.” to seize into the new age.”

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