Sen. Marco Rubio's new bill wouldn't let employers deduct travel expenses that pay for abortion or trans care for minors
The Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to a leaked draft.
In response, some large corporations said they'd pay for workers' abortion travel costs.
Rubio has introduced a bill to prevent companies from deducting the travel in their taxes.
Employers wouldn't be allowed to deduct travel expenses for their workers' abortions under a bill Sen. Marco Rubio introduced Wednesday.
The Florida Republican's bill, the No Tax Breaks for Radical Corporate Activism Act, comes as several major corporations including Citi, Apple, Yelp, Lyft, Levi's, and Amazon announced they'd reimburse travel costs for employees to access abortion if they live in a state where it becomes illegal.
The bill would also extend to transgender care for minors as Disney is considering ways to help employees and their children receive coverage.
"Our tax code should be pro-family and promote a culture of life," Rubio said in a statement announcing his legislation. "Instead, too often our corporations find loopholes to subsidize the murder of unborn babies or horrific 'medical' treatments on kids. My bill would make sure this does not happen."
Under current tax law, businesses can deduct benefits from an employee compensation package, including for healthcare plans or medical expenses.
Other companies are likely to follow in offering coverage for abortion or transgender care travel, Rubio wrote in an editorial he published in Newsweek.
"These corporations may be able to help their employees kill their unborn children or transition their son into a daughter tax-free," he wrote, adding later in the piece, "If executive elites think they can force the rest of the country to support their insane policies, they have another thing coming."
The legislation contains exceptions for workers who receive care because they would otherwise face serious health problems or death.
Rep. Brian Mast, a Republican of Florida, is introducing the House version of the bill. In a statement, Mast said corporations "should not be allowed to use taxpayer funds to support dangerous procedures that harm our kids and kill innocent babies."
GOP and Big Business clash
The new bill represents an escalation by Rubio against Big Business.
The two-term senator introduced another bill in September that would require corporate directors to prove that certain social initiatives he calls "woke" are in the best interest of shareholders.
Rubio has also called for other Republicans to break against big businesses who are pushing for "woke policies" that will lead to "Marxism."
Rubio is the son of Cuban parents who immigrated to the US just ahead of Fidel Castro's rise, and has often invoked his personal story in explaining his position against large businesses' policies.
Rubio ran for the GOP nomination for president in 2016 but lost to Trump. If he wins reelection in November — when he's likely to face off against Democratic Rep. Val Demings of Orlando — he is expected to be in the mix for the 2024 presidential nomination.
Clashes between Republicans and corporations have become more common. For decades, the GOP was aligned with American corporations and delivered them millions of dollars worth of federal tax breaks. But former President Donald Trump frequently attacked large companies and their CEOs, shaking up the GOP playbook and ushering in an era of populist ideology.
Businesses, too, have evolved as younger employees are demanding that their bosses take stronger stances on social and political causes, from Black Lives Matter to the climate crisis and even abortion.
The calculus over how far to wade into such topics is risky for businesses, who risk losing employees or customers, or drawing the ire of lawmakers.
Last month, top CEOs paid attention when Disney spoke out against Florida's controversial sex education bill. In response, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, signed a bill into law to terminate the theme park and entertainment company's special tax district.
The latest corporate push for abortion access in particular comes after a leaked draft opinion Politico obtained from the Supreme Court showed the justices were poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.
In response, the Senate is preparing to vote on a bill that would codify Roe into law and undo all state restrictions on abortion. Rubio opposes abortion and voted against the legislation when it came to the floor in February.
Rubio told reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday that he hadn't read the Supreme Court's draft opinion.
"I'm not going to read a leaked document," he said. "It's not the final opinion of the court."
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