After the threat of a midnight vote and weekend work, the Senate agreed Thursday to advance a bill that would allow states to collect online sales tax.
In a 63-30 vote, the Senate ended debate on The Marketplace Fairness Act, S. 743, which would empower states to collect taxes on purchases made online by consumers in their states.
[b]The Senate will vote on final passage of the bill when senators return May 6 from a weeklong recess.[/b]
On Wednesday, the Senate voted 75-22 to proceed to the bill and last month, the body passed a nonbinding budget resolution supporting the Marketplace Fairness language on a 75-24 vote. Support for the bill dwindled because now there will not be an open amendment process.
Still the strong votes suggest supporters of the bill are likely to see it win approval since final passage requires only a majority. Its path through the House, despite the support of many GOP governors, is less clear.
“This bill will allow the states to ask Internet retailers when they sell in the state to collect sales tax,” Sen. #$%$ Durbin (D-Ill.) said Thursday. “It is very straight forward.”
Some senators in states without a sales tax had been blocking progress on the bill, arguing it would burden retailers in their states by forcing them to collect taxes for other state governments.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said he has proposed a compromise to Durbin that would allow states to opt out, but Durbin has not seemed willing to negotiate since he knows he has enough votes to pass the bill as is.
“The senator from Illinois has not responded in writing to any of the offers we have made,” Wyden said. “We’d like to walk through this process and be able to tell our constituents … that they are going to be able to shape their own future.”
Durbin did offer to allow amendments from those opposing the