Members of Congress at appeals court to blast Biden for state tax mandate

By Bob Unruh

Dozens of members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have gone to a federal appeals court in order to blast Joe Biden’s mandate that took over state tax-setting authority during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The American Center for Law and Justice’s Jordan Sekulow reported his organization filed a brief in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of 64 members.

It’s over Biden’s demand that the federal government control taxes in states – if they take any federal assistance for the COVID-19 disaster, which has killed nearly 600,000 Americans during Biden’s presidency.

“Since taking office, the actions of President Joe Biden have made it apparent that one of his administration’s primary objectives is to wrestle away power from individual states and centralize it all in Washington,” Sekulow explained in his report.

“It’s a gross overreach, and it violates the Constitution of the United States. The ACLJ is not going to stand by and allow it to happen. We just filed a critical amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit on behalf of 64 Members of the U.S. Senate and House.”

He explained the background is that Biden and other Democrats, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, demanded the authority to block states from lower residents’ taxes “if they accepted COVID-19 relief funds.”

The scheme developed as Democrats chose to use a fairly rare budget reconciliation process to approval a sixth stimulus bill, a partisan plan.

“This resulted in a law littered with problems, but one of the worst is a last-minute provision slipped in that functionally prohibits states from lowering state taxes anytime between now and 2024. In other words, throughout President Biden’s first term,” he reported.

“Essentially the Biden administration was saying to states, if you take COVID money, which many of you desperately need, the federal government gets to control how you then tax your residents. … Exploiting a deadly pandemic to amass and consolidate more power is despicable.”

He said the lawsuit actually was brought by 13 states against the federal government, and a federal judge agreed the coercion was wrong.

The court gave the states a “permanent injunction” barring enforcement of that provision.

The judge found: “The court finds no precedential authority that would proscribe its ruling today that Congress exceeded its spending clause authority in crafting an unconstitutionally ambiguous spending condition in the tax mandate.”

But Sekulow noted Biden still is at it, “trying to block states from being able to lower taxes.”

In fact, Biden “really seems intent on impeding any relief for working Americans.”

The result is more legal work, the friend-of-the-court brief at the 11th Circuit.

It argues the so-called “Tax Mandate” goes beyond the power to impose conditions that the Supreme Court has accepted.

“If the tax mandate is unambiguous, it amounts to an impermissible assault on the states’ sovereignty. If it is ambiguous, it fails to pass one of the Supreme Court’s clear limitations on Congress’s conditioning authority,” the ACLJ analysis said.

The report said the Biden administration has argued that the demand does not prevent states from cutting taxes, but it does say no federal COVID money can be used for those cuts.

“Since money is fungible, these are conflicting admissions by the Treasury Department,” Sekulow explained.

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