(Bloomberg)—Washington’s most powerful trade associations spent more than $30 million on lobbying in the third quarter as Congress ramped up efforts to overhaul of the U.S. tax code.
Real estate groups were among those spending heavily, according to lobbying disclosures released Friday for the three months ending Sept. 30. The National Association of Realtors, routinely among Washington’s biggest spenders, doled out $11.1 million during the period. The National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts spent $1.23 million, a record for the group.
The White House and Republican congressional leaders released a framework for overhauling taxes on Sept. 27, three days before the end of the quarter. Several groups have said they lobbied tax-writers during the months leading up to the release, including an effort that succeeded in killing a proposed levy on imports. Trump has said the legislation will be “the largest tax cuts in U.S. history.”
The Realtors have been fighting to preserve the federal deduction for mortgage interest. While the proposed tax framework would retain “tax incentives for home mortgage interest,” the NAR is concerned that another measure -- a proposed increase in the standard deduction -- would render the mortgage deduction less valuable to many homeowners.
The NAR also belongs to a coalition aiming to preserve a federal deduction for state and local taxes paid, which they say protects home-affordability. The White House’s tax plan suggested ending that deduction, which administration officials say has allowed out-of-control spending by municipal governments. Some Republicans from New York, New Jersey and other states with high local taxes have resisted the changes and sought compromises.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce business group spent $13.12 million on several issues, including tax policy and efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
The Business Roundtable, which has made taxes a 2017 priority, also spent $4.53 million on lobbying, up more than $1 million from the same period in 2016. The group of top U.S. CEOs said it lobbied on "all provisions" of the current framework.
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