Jim Clark: Wait … a bill has bipartisan support in D.C.? (opinion)
Wow. Is that a redux of the American Civil War going on in Washington, D.C.?
Obama accuses Trump of conspiring with the Russians; Trump accuses Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower; not a single Republican voted for Obamacare seven years ago; not a single Democrat will vote for the proposed Trumpcare bill, according to Minority Leaders Pelosi and Schumer. Who’s looking out for America?
There are some moderating forces on the horizon as we approach the 2018 election cycle. Although the party out of power usually picks up seats in midterms, of the 23 Democratic senators up for reelection next year fully, 10 are from states carried by Donald Trump.
It’s likely that those most vulnerable Democrats will soften the anti-Trump rhetoric as they approach the campaign season. Republicans have eight senators up for reelection in 2018, all from solid red states — except Nevada Sen. Dean Heller — so Democrats have their work cut out for them.
Another even more important moderating force is Donald Trump’s campaign promise to repair, rehabilitate and modernize the nation’s infrastructure. This is something Democrats love. It will result in creation of lots of jobs for union members and other constituents. Also lawmakers can get bridges, highways and post offices named after them.
The American Society of Civil Engineers recently released their 2017 report card on America’s infrastructure where roads earned a D, dams earned a D, drinking water a D and ports a C+; overall grade D+. No significant improvement since their last report card four years ago.
So that’s the need — the problem is money. The U.S. is over $20 trillion in debt, so how are we going to pay for all this stuff that Trump and Democrats agree on? If we could solve that problem, we could see a return to the relatively pleasant bipartisan days of Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill.
Almost totally drowned out of the news by all the finger pointing, accusations and counter-accusations is a fascinating scheme brought forward by … a Democrat! Congressman John Delaney (D, Md.) the only member of Congress to have previously served as chief executive officer of a New York Stock Exchange-listed public company, has authored an ingenious bill that has bipartisan support.
Here’s a summary of Delaney’s proposal, which he calls the Partnership to Build America Act: 1. Create the American Infrastructure Fund accessible by state and local governments, who must front 10% of the cost, for infrastructure projects. 2. Issue 50-year-term 1% yield infrastructure bonds with no government guarantee. 3. Multinational U.S. corporations holding an estimated $2 trillion in untaxed funds overseas would be able to repatriate their funds by paying a one-time 8.75% income tax (instead of 35%), but only as to those funds used to buy the infrastructure bonds. There is a leverage mechanism which greatly increases investment funds the program will raise. It would also provide six years of Highway Trust Fund solvency.
Phase two would establish a bipartisan commission tasked with developing permanent solvency for the Highway Trust Fund. Phase two would also create an 18-month deadline for international tax reform and would provide for a fallback in event of no action within that 18 months.
Absent other affirmative tax on foreign earnings reform, the default law would be a 12.25% tax on US overseas profits if (as is often the case) they are paying no foreign taxes and a 2% tax on such profits if already taxed by a foreign nation.
The bill has 25 Democratic and 25 Republican co-sponsors. It would kick start an ambitious infrastructure program with no tax dollars or additional government borrowing.
Hopefully, a common objective like this will cause both Republicans and Democrats to rein in their caustic speeches and get along a little better.
Jim Clark is president of Republican Advocates. He has served on the Wshoe County and Nevada GOP Central Committees. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.