"These tax breaks are nothing but corporate handouts," the lawmakers said in a letter to the CEOs of four military-industrial complex giants.
A pair of Democratic U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday sent a letter to the CEOs of four of the largest corporations in the military-industrial complex asking how their firms would benefit from Republicans' proposed expansion of a Trump-era tax cut under which the companies stand to save billions of dollars.
In their letter to heads of Raytheon, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Chris Deluzio (D-Penn.) took aim at Republican efforts to extend provisions of the nearly $2 trillion Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), signed into law by then-President Donald Trump in 2017.
One of those provisions, the so-called research and experimentation (R&E) deduction, would give the weapon-makers billions of dollars in retroactive tax breaks.
"A revival of the R&E tax break would add to the billions in savings your companies have already received from the 2017 Trump tax cuts."
"House Republicans, thanks to aggressive lobbying by Northrop Grumman, are trying to extend these tax giveaways while continuing to demand massive cuts to critical government programs relied on by millions of Americans," the letter states.
"A revival of the R&E tax break would add to the billions in savings your companies have already received from the 2017 Trump tax cuts, but it is far from clear if that is the best use of taxpayer dollars," the lawmakers continued. "As Congress continues to debate corporate tax reform and government funding levels—including proposals for further corporate tax giveaways, large increases [in] military spending, and cuts to other critical government programs—we should understand how your company and other massive corporations will be rewarded."
The lawmakers noted that Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman have acknowledged they would save between $500 million and $2 billion for 2022 alone if the R&E deduction is retroactively extended.
"These tax breaks are nothing but corporate handouts," the letter asserts. "Meanwhile, Republicans plan on paying for their bill by gutting the clean energy credits passed through the Inflation Reduction Act. These energy credits will help grow the U.S. economy up to $200 billion and create up to 1.3 million jobs nationally by 2030, mainly by incentivizing investments in research and domestic manufacturing."
On Wednesday, Warren—who last month partnered with Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Rep. Mike Garamendi (D-Calif.) to reintroduce legislation to crack down on price gouging by military contractors—led a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on what she called "the need to root out waste" and profiteering.
The Biden administration is asking Congress to authorize $886 billion in military spending in the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, which was passed by the GOP-controlled House of Representatives earlier this month. The bill is currently before the Senate.
Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—who earlier said he would vote against the measure—"in the richest country on Earth, we do not need to force false choices. We can fund critical domestic priorities while maintaining a strong military, caring for our veterans, and getting Ukraine what it needs."
"But it will require the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share in taxes, and it will require members of Congress to care less about the profits of Lockheed Martin, Boeing, or Raytheon, and more about the needs of working people," Sanders added. "Now is the time to rethink what we value as a society and to fundamentally transform our national priorities."