WRIGHT: Big Liquor Is Drunk On Power. Congress Needs To Sober Them Up.

In a politically divided nation, one issue seems to unify people of all persuasions. We all find it unjust when massive players in an industry use their market muscle and lobbying clout to carve out special deals for themselves. All too often, public policy is written not by policymakers, but by industry lobbyists.

Big Liquor is once again knocking at Congress’s door, seeking another handout paid for by hardworking American taxpayers. This time, they’re pushing for the passage of bills S.1781 and H.R. 4073, disguised as amendments to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) and duty drawback clarification, but in reality, they represent nothing more than a blatant attempt to line the pockets of multinational liquor companies at the expense of the American public.

At their core, these legislative measures aim to create a zero percent effective tax rate for big liquor companies importing certain foreign-produced spirits products. This move would further widen the gap between the ultra-rich and the rest of us, all under the guise of trade and tax policy.

The proposed bills come hot on the heels of previous special treatment bestowed upon the liquor industry, such as the generous tax breaks of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA). With existing loopholes like the rum cover-over provision and the IRC 5010 tax credit already in place, one wonders just how much more Big Liquor expects to extract from the American taxpayer.

The ramifications of these bills are clear: billions of dollars flowing out of the U.S. Treasury and into the coffers of a select few multinational corporations. American small businesses would see no benefit, and the federal deficit would only deepen, burdening future generations with the consequences of today’s greed.


S.1781 and H.R.4073 represent the epitome of congressional earmarks, serving the interests of a privileged few while disregarding the needs of the many. By attempting to slip these provisions unnoticed into an omnibus package – an old lobbyist trick – the liquor lobby hopes to avoid scrutiny and accountability, a tactic as transparent as it is shameful.

Enough is enough. The Louisiana federal delegation must stand firm against the liquor lobby’s relentless pursuit of taxpayer dollars. We cannot allow multinational corporations to continue gaming the system at the expense of everyday Americans. It’s time for transparency, accountability, and a government that works for the people, not the highest bidder.

Robert Wright is a member of the Republican State Central Committee



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