Amidst excited coverage of the New Hampshire primary and analysis of the President’s budget Tuesday evening, negotiations in the Senate bore potentially significant fruit. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) agreed to drop his hold on the Conference Report accompanying the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act (HR. 644) in exchange for a commitment from Majority Leader McConnell that a separate vote will be held on the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) this year. Long-sought by small business advocates and brick-and-mortar retailers, the MFA (S.698) would allow states to collect sales taxes on out-of-state online sellers, helping to “level the playing field” with giants like Amazon. Senator Durbin had originally called for the MFA to be considered together with the permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (S.431) as a separate bill, but the internet tax will now move forward with HR 644 as part of the deal.
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