It's baaaaaaack. The Marketplace Fairness Act rises from the dead

I briefly considered labeling this post as something to do with a Walking Dead Grumble Thread, but didn’t want to run into a copyright infringement suit from AP. Yesterday, while everyone was anxiously awaiting Hillary’s big email server announcement, a group of senators reintroduced the latest version of the Marketplace Fairness Act. I think we’ve beaten this subject to death enough times that we don’t need a recap of what it’s about here.


Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) rolled out the Marketplace Fairness Act on Tuesday, which would give states more power to collect sales taxes from businesses that don’t have a physical location within their borders.

“The Marketplace Fairness Act is about supporting the jobs we have in our towns. It is about the people who are our neighbors who work in our local stores,” Enzi said in a statement.

“It’s time to give states the right to enforce their own laws without having to get permission from Washington.”

The last time this measure reached the full Senate floor was ten months ago. At the time, there were only 27 senators voting against it, and the list below should give you a fair idea of where the opposition was based.

Ayotte (R-NH), Nay
Barrasso (R-WY), Nay
Baucus (D-MT), Nay
Coburn (R-OK), Nay
Crapo (R-ID), Nay
Cruz (R-TX), Nay
Flake (R-AZ), Nay
Grassley (R-IA), Nay
Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Heller (R-NV), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Johnson (R-WI), Nay
Kirk (R-IL), Nay
Lee (R-UT), Nay
McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Merkley (D-OR), Nay
Murkowski (R-AK), Nay
Paul (R-KY), Nay
Risch (R-ID), Nay
Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Rubio (R-FL), Nay
Scott (R-SC), Nay
Shaheen (D-NH), Nay
Tester (D-MT), Nay
Toomey (R-PA), Nay
Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Wyden (D-OR), Nay


One of the no votes on that list is of particular interest… Mitch McConnell. Last time this went through Harry Reid was in charge and Mitch spoke against it. Would he even agree to bring it up for a vote?

And even if McConnell is on board, the other half of this equation is the previous lack of support in the House. Boehner didn’t even bring it up for a vote last year and I’ve heard a couple of different takes on what the whip count was at that time. Of course, we were in the final months of a midterm election at the time and there were probably a lot of nervous folks in the lower chamber who didn’t want their name associated with anything that had the word “tax” in it. But the base was (and remains) opposed on various grounds, some of which have been explained quite well by our readers here in the comments as we have debated this proposal for two years now. (It’s also known as the Amazon giveaway package in some quarters.)

The Hill is indicating that they will try to tie it to the Internet Tax Freedom Act this time. That measure would continue a ban on taxes for internet access services and is a favorite of almost everyone. Is that enough to get the MFA through? One can only imagine the procedural moves which will be pulled out of the magician’s hat to make that happen, assuming there’s a vote.


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