Rand Paul Fights Tax Treaties Citing Privacy Concerns

May 7, 2014

Bucking pressure from businesses and fellow lawmakers, Sen. Rand Paul says he will continue to oppose tax treaties that would let the Internal Revenue Service gather more information about Americans’ overseas financial accounts.

The move dims the outlook for a planned Senate vote on the treaties, while highlighting the Kentucky Republican’s contrarian streak. The treaties – including a significant one with Switzerland – enjoy widespread support among lawmakers of both parties. But Mr. Paul, who is preparing a 2016 presidential bid, believes they would encourage government snooping and erode Americans’ privacy rights.

Sen. Paul’s opposition has held up action on the tax treaties since soon after they were sent to the Senate in 2011. Sen. Paul has placed “hold” on the treaties, meaning that the Senate would have to spend days on procedural moves to vote on any of the treaties.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) on Wednesday, Sen. Paul said he would renew his hold on the treaties for the current session of Congress. The treaties were recently recommended by a Senate committee, and lawmakers had been seeking a floor vote on them soon. Now those votes are in doubt, and leaders will have to weigh whether to sacrifice days of floor time to pass them.

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