The Senate is set to vote on Tuesday on a bill that would ban the use of corporate tax breaks to benefit foreign governments, and the House is expected to take up similar legislation.
But unlike the GOP-led House, the Senate is expected not to pass such legislation, because of a conflict of interest by some lobbyists for some of Hollywood’s biggest players.
The legislation has been opposed by both chambers of Congress, with Republicans insisting it would benefit Hollywood producers, while Democrats, in particular, are skeptical that Hollywood executives would benefit.
The Senate bill, introduced by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer Charles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerElection Countdown: Kavanaugh allegations put GOP in tough spot | Republicans start to pull plug on candidates | Dems get early start in Iowa | O’Rourke defends Cruz after protesters interrupt dinner | Why Biden is the Democrat GOP most fears Bredesen says he won’t back Schumer for Senate Dem leader MORE (D-N.Y.), would prohibit the use in any year of any tax break, including a corporate tax break.
That would include a tax break granted to Hollywood producers by the State Department, which could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Schumer’s bill would not apply to Hollywood productions in the State department’s International Film and Television Production Program, which includes films and television series produced by American companies.
“I think the Senate will pass the bill,” Schumer said at the time.
“We need to get this done.”
But the legislation has also attracted opposition from Hollywood’s top producers, who argue that the legislation could benefit foreign actors and filmmakers, as well as American companies that may be more vulnerable to foreign competition.
“The Senate bill would harm American workers and producers by increasing the costs of doing business in the United States, while at the same time undermining the ability of American companies to compete and expand abroad,” wrote John Madden, president of the Motion Picture Association of America, in a letter to Schumer.
“By reducing incentives for foreign companies to invest and hiring here, this bill could have negative consequences for American companies, American workers, and American taxpayers.”
The American Council of the Arts and the Motion Pictures Producers Guild both sent a letter Tuesday to Schumer urging him to reconsider the legislation.
The AARP, in turn, called for the bill to be withdrawn.
“Senator Schumer’s proposal to impose a ban on foreign-made tax breaks is both unfair and discriminatory, and would further alienate American companies,” the letter reads.
“This legislation will hurt American businesses and their workers.
We urge you to immediately withdraw this discriminatory bill.”
A spokesman for the White House, Scott McClellan, said the administration opposes the bill.
“It is outrageous that Senator Schumer and the Democrats would push a bill to benefit Hollywood that would harm the very people he represents,” he said.
“That bill would hurt American workers by reducing incentives and lowering standards.
It would hurt the American people by lowering the standards of what it takes to compete in the international marketplace.”
The bill’s passage would be critical to Trump’s efforts to win approval for his $1 trillion tax cut package, which would be announced next week.
Trump and his team have been lobbying against the legislation for months, and he’s now faced widespread backlash from his base for his position.
The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that the president is concerned that the bill could hurt Hollywood and other producers by making it harder for them to compete abroad.
“There’s no question that if this is passed, the tax bill will be detrimental to Hollywood, to the American taxpayer, and to American businesses,” the president said during a Tuesday press conference.
“And I have told my cabinet, if I am able to get the Senate to pass the tax cut, we will sign it.
I don’t want to be in a position where I have to say, ‘I’ve got to say no to the tax plan that I’ve been told is good for Hollywood.'”
A Treasury Department official told reporters on Tuesday that the department was reviewing the legislation, but declined to comment further.
Schumer, however, argued that the administration has “been very clear that this is a bill we want to see passed.”
“I don’t think that anyone wants to be a hypocrite,” he told reporters.
“But the president, who is a real fighter for the American worker, he’s made clear that he is going to get his tax cuts done.
And I think that the American taxpayers should be very, very proud of the president for making sure that he gets his tax cut done.”