Corporate America is not leaving it to lawmakers and the White House to reach a deal to determine the fate of millions of illegal foreign workers whose temporary permission to work in the U.S. is set to expire early this year.
Instead, more than 100 corporate leaders are demanding immediate and permanent amnesty for millions of so-called “Dreamers.”
Just days after President Donald Trump hosted Democratic and Republican lawmakers at the White House to discuss legislation that would authorize funding for a border wall and end chain migration while also providing legal protections for around 700,000 foreign workers under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, corporate leaders have signed a letter urging lawmakers to enact a dramatically expanded amnesty program.
Although the letter cites the potential end of DACA as a reason for urgent action, it calls for a much broader amnesty program that would include all the so-called “Dreamers,” a broader group than the 700,000 DACA recipients. By most estimates, the broader group would include millions of illegal foreign workers rather than hundreds of thousands.
“We write to urge Congress to act immediately and pass a permanent bipartisan legislative solution to enable Dreamers who are currently living, working, and contributing to our communities to continue doing so,” the letter states. “The imminent termination of the DACA program is creating an impending crisis for workforces across the country.”
The letter is short of specifics, failing to cite any evidence that the end of DACA would create a “crisis” for American businesses. The total number of DACA workers amounts to less than one-half of one percent of the American workforce, suggesting that the loss of these workers could be easily absorbed.
Even if recruiting and hiring legal immigrants and native workers would involve some additional expense, that seems unlikely to cause much disruption. Many of the executives signing the letters represent some of the wealthiest business in America, including Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon.com’s (and Washington Post owner) Jeff Bezos, General Motors’ Mary Barra, and AT&T’s Randall Stephenson.
The letter calling for a permanent amnesty for Dreamers is likely to strike many Americans as off-key, particularly as it follows so closely behind the passage of tax reform legislation that slashed the corporate tax rate. Supporters of the tax cuts, including many of those who signed the letter, argued that American workers would benefit from the corporate tax cuts in the form of higher wages and an expanding jobs market. That is hard to reconcile with a call for extending permanent legal permission to hire millions of otherwise illegal foreign workers.
Jan 12, 2018 BY:
MSNBC host and NBC correspondent Stephanie Ruhle said Friday that most Americans will see an increase in their paychecks right away under the Republican tax reform law.
NBC “Today” co-host Hoda Kotb said that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is out with revised income tax withholding tables and that whenever things get confusing with taxes, the show brings in Ruhle to explain the system.
“There are going to be these IRS tax calculators that are coming out online, so you’re going to put out next month and you’re going to go online and say, ‘Here’s my income, here’s my family information,’ and by putting that out, they’re going to spit out a number,” Ruhle said. “You’re going to tell your employer if it seems too high or too low. Yes, it’s making you nervous…. This tax bill went through very quickly. They don’t have all the forms they need, but, according to the government, mid year, these companies should figure it out.”
Kotb asked Ruhle whether it looks like more people will get more money in their paychecks right away.
“It does. According to the White House, 90 percent of people are going to get an increase,” Ruhle said. “They say it should happen by next month. I’m not telling you should go out and buy a new washing machine today. Wait for next month to come, but, according to the White House, they are saying be patient, we need to work through the system.”
Co-host Savannah Guthrie said she is “still confused, but OK.”
“Give it a little bit of time. You’re going to fill out your W4. You’re going to use this new tax calculator online next month when it comes. These things take time to get through the system,” Ruhle concluded.
The Treasury Department and IRS on Thursday released new guidance and withholding tables for employers that estimate 90 percent of people who get a paycheck are likely to see more in take-home pay as soon as February, and that employers have until Feb. 15 to incorporate the changes.
Since President Donald Trump signed the tax reform plan into law last month, 81 companies have announced that they are investing more money in their workers.
Democrats such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts insist the historic tax-reform bill passed by Congress last month does nothing for the middle class.
Yet, already, more than 50 companies have announced employee bonuses and/or wage increases in response to the bill’s tax cuts.
And, now, the nation’s largest private employer is raising its minimum hourly wage and handing out bonuses of up to $1,000.
Walmart, which has more than 1 million U.S. hourly employees, said Trump’s corporate tax cut “gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.”
The new legislation cut the U.S. corporate tax rate cut from 35 percent to 21 percent.
“Today, we are building on investments we’ve been making in associates, in their wages and skills development,” said Walmart CEO Doug McMillon in a statement.
“It’s our people who make the difference and we appreciate how they work hard to make every day easier for busy families.”
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Meanwhile, in an interview Wednesday with the Fox News Channel’s “Special Report with Bret Baier,” Warren continued to insist the tax-reform bill, which House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called “Armageddon,” is all about appeasing “billionaires and giant corporations.”
“We’ve got to change it,” Warren said. “You’ve gotta take out the parts that are giant giveaways to big corporations that, right now, the Republicans plan for hard-working Americans to pay for.”
Baier interjected that there are companies such as the Massachusetts electricity company Eversource announcing “they’re going to give a big break to consumers.”
Warren commented: “And good for them. I’m delighted to hear that.”
Baier asked, “So, which (companies) do you take out of the list?”
Warren replied: “Look, it is a trillion-and-a-half dollars that the Republicans gave away to billionaires and giant corporations, and they expect hard-working families to just pick up the ticket on that. I want those breaks to go directly to hard-working families, not to a bunch of rich folks.”
Immediately after the bill passed Dec. 20, AT&T and Comcast announced bonuses of $1,000 to non-management workers, and Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bancorp increased base hourly pay to $15. Boeing announced a gift of $300 million in investment in its employee-related charitable program “to support our heroes, our homes and our future.”
Comcast NBC Universal gave $1,000 bonuses to more than 100,000 non-executive employees, announcing the move was not only tied, like all the others, to the tax cut but to the Federal Communications Commission’s elimination of government regulation of the Internet. The company said it plans to spend more than $50 billion in the next five years on infrastructure investments that he expects will create “thousands of new direct and indirect jobs.”
Before the bill passed, Kroger Chief Executive Officer W. Rodney McMullen offered that the legislation would influence his company “to continue to invest in our business, which will grow jobs.”
Walmart said its wage increase will take effect in February. The company also plans to boost its paid maternity leave policy for full-time hourly workers to 10 weeks at full pay. The current policy is six to eight weeks at half pay. Walmart also announced it will offer financial help to full-time hourly and salaried employees seeking to adopt children.
Passed in both chambers with no Democrat votes, the bill cuts the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. It also doubles the standard deduction to $24,000 for married couples and doubles the child-tax credit to $2,000, with up to $1,400 available in refunds for families who owe little or no taxes. The bill maintains seven personal income tax brackets and lowers the tax rates for most brackets, reducing the top rate to 37 percent from 39.6 percent.
The Republican leadership promised the impact of the tax bill will begin to show up in paychecks in February as the amount withheld for federal taxes is reduced.
Some Republican members of Congress in the high-tax states of California, New Jersey and New York opposed the bill because it puts a $10,000 cap on the deduction of state, local and property taxes.
The left-leaning Tax Policy Center concluded 80 percent of taxpayers will get a significant tax cut while less than 5 percent will see a tax increase of more than $10.
The Congressional Budget Office’s “static” score of the bill, which doesn’t include projected economic growth, concludes the deficit would grow by about $1.5 trillion in the next decade. However, Republicans, pointing to the tax cuts of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, argue the bill will result in economic growth that will produce more revenue and, therefore, more taxes collected.