Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
2009 Transportation Bill

Pelosi: Passing a Wall Street Transport Tax Would Require Overseas Buy-in

Any proposal to fund new U.S. infrastructure investment by taxing financial transactions -- such as Rep. Pete DeFazio's (D-OR) bill taxing Wall Street oil speculators -- would require international participation to prevent the trades in question from migrating overseas, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said today.

nancy_pelosi.jpgHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Photo: MoniqueMonicat)

As House Democrats weigh their options for a new job-creation plan, slated for a vote before year's end, infrastructure spending is attracting new support from party leaders. But the question of how much to spend, and whether a new six-year transportation measure could be presented as a jobs bill, is tied up in ongoing uncertainty over where the necessary funding would come from.

DeFazio's recommendation to impose a small per-trade tax on the Wall Street oil futures market has picked up endorsements from progressive economists and writers as well as 29 of his fellow Democrats. Pelosi, however, was cautious in addressing its prospects today during her weekly press briefing.

"One of the
concerns that some of us have about it," the Speaker said, "is what it [might do] to us in terms of transactions going offshore."

Emphasizing that the idea "is just something that is on the table," Pelosi added that passing a tax proposal such as DeFazio's would require consultation with and buy-in from other nations: "It would have to be an international rule, not just a U.S. rule."

Barney Frank (D-MA), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, is among those who have expressed concerns that a Wall Street transaction tax, unless properly structured, would drive financial activity onto foreign commodity exchanges, thus generating lower-than-expected revenues.

Imposing a transaction tax "country by country ... would be a problem," Frank told the Wall Street Journal last month.

Pelosi's response today does not signal a decline in House-side momentum for DeFazio's proposal; she noted that financial regulators in the United Kingdom and elsewhere have spoken favorably of transaction taxes (also known as "Tobin" taxes).

But even if House Democrats ultimately embrace the idea as a revenue-raiser for their jobs bill, the proposed tax is guaranteed to face an uphill battle in the Senate -- where Wall Street has no shortage of powerful allies.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Friday’s Headlines Take Me to the River

Politico reports that the Biden administration is investing $2.5 billion in updating aging Mississippi River locks and dams like this one in Iowa. Transporting freight by barge produces less emissions than trucks or even rail.

July 12, 2024

Friday Video: Take a Spin on Boston’s Electric Cargo Bike Share

Can't afford a $7,000 Urban Arrow cargo e-bike ? In Boston, you can now rent one for just a few bucks.

July 12, 2024

Talking Headways Podcast: Electrify the Rails

Adrianna Rizzo of Californians for Electric Rail on California's looming lobbyist-fueled hydrogen train mistake: "We’re locking in low service for potentially decades."

July 11, 2024

Thursday’s Headlines Drive Less

Seems obvious that the more people drive, the more likely they are to die in a crash or kill someone else, but traditional thinking on traffic safety doesn't always follow that logic, according to Planetizen.

July 11, 2024
See all posts