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Ernst Introduces SQUEAL Act

Legislation Eliminates Thousands of Dollars in a Tax Break for Members of Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst introduced the Stop Questionable, Unnecessary, and Excessive Allowances for Legislators Act, also known as the SQUEAL Act, to cut perks for elected officials and make Washington squeal. This legislation would eliminate a provision of the tax code that allows Members of Congress to deduct, for income tax purposes, up to $3,000 annually in living expenses while in the Washington, D.C. area.

“Iowans sent me to Congress to make Washington, D.C. squeal and that includes eliminating handouts to politicians,” said Senator Ernst.To achieve the ultimate goal of lowering tax rates for hardworking families and businesses, Congress is going to have to eliminate various loopholes and deductions in our outdated tax code. Congress should lead by example and offer up its own unnecessary tax break.”  

About the SQUEAL Act:

  • The Code of Federal Regulations defines living-expenses as meals, lodging, and other incidental expenses. Under our current tax code, taxpayers are allowed to claim business-expense deductions for unreimbursed travel expenses incurred while they are away from their principal place of business (“home”). For the purposes of this deduction, a Member of Congress’ “home” is the state or district they represent – not Washington, D.C. where they work.
  • Due to this loophole, legislators are allowed to claim deductions for their living-expenses while working in Washington, D.C., even though they spend a significant amount of time working there.
  • Senator Ernst’s SQUEAL Act eliminates the provision of the tax code that allows Members of Congress to deduct up to $3,000 in D.C.-based living expenses from their income taxes per year.

Since elected to Congress, Senator Ernst has worked to identify areas of reckless spending in the federal government, and looked for solutions to reduce our nation’s $20 trillion debt. Most recently, the Senator reintroduced the Presidential Allowance Modernization Act of 2017 to cut the perks received by former presidents.

Read the full text of Senator Ernst’s SQUEAL Act here.