Corporate America is about to get a lot more international. Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are warning that big U.S. companies like Walgreens could begin fleeing overseas in droves to avoid paying taxes, according to The Washington Post. The tactic, known as "tax inversion," could cost the economy $20 billion in tax revenue over the next decade, says Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation.
Here's how it works: an American company buys a smaller foreign company, usually from Europe, where corporate tax rates are lower. The headquarters are technically moved to Europe and presto — the company no longer has to pay U.S. taxes on foreign profits that would normally have to be repatriated. The scheme has become much more popular, putting pressure on other U.S. companies to consider changing their address.
Washington dysfunction is partly to blame. Members of both parties, including President Obama, agree that the U.S. corporate tax rate — which at 35 percent is one of the highest in the industrialized world — should be lowered. But a big deal to reform the tax code is far beyond Congress' abilities. Instead, Democrats are proposing bills to limit inversions, which not-so-coincidentally makes for good politics as we head toward the 2014 midterms. Ryu Spaeth
McConnell allies give him better-than-even odds of getting his GOP health-care bill passed this week
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wants the Senate to pass his health-care bill this week, before the July 4 break, and the next couple of days will be a test of his strategy to craft a major overhaul of the U.S. health-care system in secret and spring it on the Senate with no public hearings. He can afford to lose only two Republicans, and five have said they won't vote yes on the current version of the bill, with at least three others expressing strong reservations. Republican senators began listing their demands over the weekend.
McConnell's former chief of staff Josh Holmes compared his former boss's week to "a 747 landing on a suburban driveway," but one current McConnell staffer tells Jonathan Swan at Axios that McConnell has a 60 percent shot of passing the bill. Still, "most folks I've talked to in McConnell's orbit say it's more like a jump ball," Swan says, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is in that camp, telling ABC News This Week on Sunday that Republicans "have, at best, a 50-50 chance of passing this bill," odds he attributed to the "devastating" effects of the proposed legislation.
McConnell has some levers he will pull, however, and "Senate leaders have been trying to lock down Republican votes by funneling money to red states, engineering a special deal for Alaska, and arguing that they could insure more people at a lower cost than the House, which passed a repeal bill last month," The New York Times reports. The Chamber of Commerce supports the bill, but opposing it is a motley group that includes the Koch brothers organization Americans for Prosperity, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, medical groups, some Republican governors, and most of the health-care industry.
Senate GOP Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said Sunday that the bill is on track for a Wednesday procedural vote, and possible passage late Thursday or early Friday, "but it's going to be close." Speaking at a Colorado retreat hosted by Charles Koch, Cornyn said that even in McConnell doesn't get a vote this week, the legislation is hardly dead. "I think August is the drop-dead line, about Aug. 1," he said. Axios' Swan said McConnell actually does need to pass the bill before the July 4 break, because "no senator I've spoken to thinks a bit of extra time spent with angry voters will make them more likely to support this bill." Peter Weber
On Monday, President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet in Washington, D.C., with the pair engaging in one-on-one talks, followed by remarks to the media — without taking any questions — and a working dinner.
Trump and Modi do not agree on major issues like trade or the Paris climate agreement — Trump has said India negotiated in an unsavory way to ensure the country receives billions of dollars in aid — but a Trump administration official told Reuters they both have more than 30 million Twitter followers and that will help them form a bond. Another senior White House official said the administration is "very interested in making this a special visit. We're really seeking to roll out the red carpet."
An Indian official told Reuters "if the chemistry is good, everything else gets sorted. The only way is up." In 2014, Modi visited former President Barack Obama, who took him to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Catherine Garcia
Toting a backpack with scissors, a razor, clips, a comb, and a styling cape, Joshua Coombes is traveling around the world, giving free haircuts to homeless men and women.
The 30-year-old London hairdresser gets to know his homeless clientele as he works, and he shares their stories on his Instagram stream, tagging them with #DoSomethingForNothing. "When you cut someone's hair, it is about trust," Coombes told The Washington Post. He's found that clients get comfortable and "tell us everything. And that role translates to the street really well." He has cut the hair of hundreds of people, and earlier this year he gave haircuts to the homeless in New York City and Washington, D.C.
Coombes says he believes in the power of forging connections between people, and his aim is to make a positive impact through conversation and haircuts. On Instagram, he shared what it was like cutting the hair of Thomas, a 70-year-old Vietnam veteran who has been homeless for 10 years. Thomas stared at the mirror for a long time, and asked Coombes why he chose to do this for him. "I told him the truth — I loved hearing his story," Coombes wrote. "I never want to stop learning. Every time I go out and do this, I get so much also. ... Fulfillment is different for everyone, but for me, connecting with others is what makes me tick." Catherine Garcia
Jared Kushner finalized $285 million 'bad boy' loan with Deutsche Bank a month before Trump's election
Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, secured a $285 million loan from Deutsche Bank, Trump's biggest known lender and at the time under investigation for allegedly allowing Russian money laundering, in October 2016, a month before Trump's election, The Washington Post reports. The Kushner loan was part of a refinancing deal for four retail floors of the former New York Times building off Times Square in Manhattan, and Kushner did not list the loan or his personal guarantee for the debt on his financial disclosure form filed with the Office of Government Ethics; a lawyer for Kushner said he was not obligated to disclose the loan.
Kushner purchased the four retail floors of the building for a reported $296 million in October 2015 from the family of an Uzbek-born Israeli billionaire named Lev Leviev, who is a vocal admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin and once aspired to work with Trump on real estate deals in Moscow. Kushner filled the largely empty floors with retailers, and the October 2016 deal also included a $85 million loan from SL Green Realty, giving Kushner's business $74 million more than he paid for the retail space.
Kushner and his brother, Joshua, are listed as guarantors on the Deutsche Bank loan under what was termed a "nonrecourse carve-out," commonly known as a "bad boy" clause, the Post explains. "The way to look at this is, so long as you're not a 'bad boy' and don't do anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about," James Schwarz, a real estate lawyer who is an expert in such clauses, tells the Post. "To the extent you would do something fraudulent, then you have things to worry about" — namely personally being on the hook for millions of dollars. Separately, Kushner and his mother have a personal line of credit worth up to $25 million from Deutsche Bank, the Post notes.
In December, Deutsche Bank paid $7.2 billion to settle U.S. charges related to fraud related to packaging residential mortgages, and in January it paid a $425 million fine to New York State to settle charges that it did not track large money transfers from Russia. The White House told the Post that Kushner "will recuse from any particular matter involving specific parties in which Deutsche Bank is a party." You can read more at The Washington Post. Peter Weber
The San Diego Splash women's basketball team may not win every game, but the players — all above 80 years old — always have a good time.
The team is part of the Senior Women's Basketball Association, a nonprofit that puts together teams made up of women older than 50. The San Diego Splash is made up of the oldest women in the league, and as they told ESPNW, "if you can stand up and move your legs, you're welcome."
The teams play 30-minute games, three on three, on the half court. Some of the women have been part of the Splash for more than 20 years, and they are all good friends, forming a sisterhood. "It's the nicest group of people, from all walks of life," one player said, and another shared that she was 78 years old when she bought her first pair of basketball shoes. "Growing up, we didn't have sports like the girls do today, we didn't have the opportunity to play. ... As long as I can, I'm going to play." Catherine Garcia
Russia's ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, has been recalled back to Moscow, three people with information on the situation told BuzzFeed News.
Kislyak has been embroiled in the FBI and congressional investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during and after the 2016 presidential election; President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have all failed to reveal meetings they had with Kislyak, and The Washington Post reported that Western spies intercepted Kislyak telling someone that Kushner wanted to open a backchannel with the Kremlin using Russian diplmatic equipment.
It's unclear when Kislyak, a former nuclear physicist, will head back to Russia, but BuzzFeed News found that the U.S.-Russia Business Council is hosting a bon voyage party July 11 at the St. Regis in Washington, D.C. It had been reported that Kislyak was going to run a new counterterrorism office at the Unitd Nations, but a veteran Russian diplomat is taking the spot instead. Catherine Garcia
Anyone who checked the website of Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) on Sunday morning would have been surprised to find a pro–Islamic State message.
— CNN (@CNN) June 25, 2017
The Ohio Department of Administrative Services said 10 state websites and two servers were affected, and law enforcement is investigating how they were hacked. Kasich's website contained a message that read: "You will be held accountable Trump, you and all your people for every drop of blood flowing in Muslim countries. I love Islamic State." It also said the site had been "hacked by Team System Dz."
A spokeswoman for Kasich told Bloomberg that as soon as they heard about what happened, "we immediately began to correct it, and will continue to monitor until fully resolved." The New York Post reports that the same message, along with music, appeared on the website for the town of Brookhaven, New York, on Long Island. Catherine Garcia