Madison Cawthorn voted against the Relief Act, which aims to help millions of ordinary Americans.
A first-time Republican legislature proposes a massive corporate tax break to companies to pay for COVID-19 safety training.
North Carolina MP Madison Cawthorn last week introduced a bill called the Better Businesses for Tomorrow Act, which aims to reimburse half the cost of coronavirus safety training employers paid – to the start the pandemic.
“This law will allow businesses in NC-11 to reopen safely. The government has closed our stores. It is only right to help them reopen,” he tweeted Friday.
While claiming that “the government closed our economy” and “the government should pay the bill to reopen our economy,” Cawthorn seems a little confused about federalism.
The federal government never closed the economy during the coronavirus pandemic. Donald Trump specifically refused to issue a national stay-at-home order, leaving matters entirely to the states.
“We talked about it … obviously there are some parts of the country that have far deeper problems than others,” he said at the end of March, explaining the lack of a national order. “If we do, we’ll let you know, but it’s pretty unlikely I think at this point.”
“There are some states that are different. There are some states that don’t have a big problem,” Trump argued last April. “If a state in the Midwest or Alaska, for example, has no problem, it’s awfully hard to say, ‘Lock it up.’ So we need to have a bit of flexibility. “
Instead, almost every governor voluntarily issued statewide orders to keep their citizens safe, even though a handful have never closed their economies.
However, the Cawthorn bill provides for a federal refundable tax cut of up to $ 1,000 per employee for companies that have or have had “Best Practice Training Costs to Protect Employees Against COVID-19” depending on company size.
Seth Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and a tax policy expert, told the American Independent Foundation that while the idea has some value, “it seems very late in the game to issue a tax credit that dates back to March 2020. At this point in time, it would probably just be a godsend for employers who [did] At least part of what they were primarily required to do – figuring out how to protect their workers. “
“And if you want to introduce a retroactive tax incentive, you at least want to require companies that they have actually implemented ‘best practices’ and protected their workers,” added Hanlon.
Cawthorn repeatedly voted against the American rescue plan, President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion package, to contain the pandemic and reverse some of the economic damage it caused.
In addition to spending billions on vaccinations and testing, that bill also included $ 10 million in health and safety training under OSHA’s Susan Harwood Training Grant program. According to the White House, these funds are “for organizations that help keep vulnerable workers safe and healthy from COVID-19.”
The law also included some funding to help child minders and other specific industries pay for personal protective equipment and safety training.
Cawthorn claims to be an advocate of budget balance and government downsizing, but his bill is unfunded and could massively reduce federal revenues. The Congress Budget Office has not yet estimated its price.
Cawthorn’s tweet announcing the legislation said on its official website, “To learn more, visit cawthorn.house.gov.” However, the bill is not mentioned on this page, and no press releases have been published there in two months.
A spokesman for the representative provided a copy of the bill, but did not immediately answer questions about the cost and purpose of the bill.
Cawthorn reportedly emailed his colleagues in January to brag that he had built his staff “on communication rather than legislation”.
As of Tuesday, the bill has no co-sponsors.
Published with permission from the American Independent Foundation.