House to repeal law withholding contractors' taxesIn a rare show of unity in a bitterly partisan year, the House moved Thursday toward an overwhelming vote to repeal a law requiring federal, state and local governments to withhold 3 percent of what contractors are owed until they pay their taxes.
By: Alan Fram, Associated Press, Superior Telegram
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a rare show of unity in a bitterly partisan year, the House moved Thursday toward an overwhelming vote to repeal a law requiring federal, state and local governments to withhold 3 percent of what contractors are owed until they pay their taxes.
Federal investigators have found tens of thousands of contractors who owe billions of dollars to the U.S. government. The 5-year-old statute was designed to force scofflaws who perform government work to pay up.
That drive to crack down on tax cheats now ranks well behind a stronger political imperative — lawmakers' desire to show voters they are trying to preserve jobs. The withholding requirement doesn't take effect until January 2013, meaning that scrapping it won't produce any new jobs. But members of both parties said repealing the law would remove impediments to future job creation.
"Now is the time to eliminate barriers that are standing in the way of jobs for American workers," said Rep. Wally Herger, R-Calif., a sponsor of the repeal legislation.
Democrats voiced support for the legislation but faulted Republicans for blocking other efforts to bolster the economy from President Barack Obama. He's proposed a $447 billion jobs bill that has made little progress in Congress.
"When the president brings up proposals to create jobs, they're thwarted by the majority here and Republicans in the Senate," said Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich.
Obama supports scrapping the withholding law. The Senate still must approve the legislation.
The government would lose an estimated $11 billion by repealing the law.
Accompanying language would make up for that loss by making it harder for some lower-income people to qualify for aid under the health care overhaul law is opposed by some Democrats but was expected to be approved.