Obama Calls Out Rand Paul For Blocking Tax Treaties

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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President Barack Obama and White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest criticized Kentucky Sen. [crscore]Rand Paul[/crscore] for blocking the passage of tax treaties, claiming his actions are “quirky” and not done for middle class families during a press briefing Friday.

“I’m calling on the senate, in particular Senator Rand Paul whose been a little quirky on this issue, to stop blocking the implementation of tax treaties that have been pending for years,” Obama said. “These treaties actually improve law enforcement’s ability to investigate and crack down on off shore tax evasion and I’m assuming that’s not something he’s in favor of.”

Paul has been blocking the passage of tax treaties in the Senate due to privacy concerns. 

“An individual’s bank account is the epitome of who they are as a private citizen; a bank account reveals where someone is shopping, what foods they like, the medicines they are taking, the doctors they are visiting, and the places they are traveling. Buck collection tax treaties are not a policy prescription to US citizens conducting illicit financial transactions in a foreign country” the Republican senator wrote in a 2015 letter to Senate Majority Leader [crscore]Mitch McConnell[/crscore].

Obama’s press secretary lamented the amount of time these treaties have been waiting to be ratified.

“We’re talking about more than five years of delay, the benefit simply is we know they are people who use the financial systems in Switzerland and Luxembourg to evade taxation and in some cases to even hide their resources because they are the result of criminal actions,” Earnest said. “So I don’t really know exactly what justification Senator Paul would have for not moving forward with these agreements that would allow our law enforcement officials to combat these efforts.”

When asked about Paul’s privacy concerns, the press secretary said: “My guess is he’s not raising concerns on the part of too many middle-class families that are using the financial system in Luxembourg to hide their assets. So I’m not really sure whose concerns Senator Paul is speaking up for, maybe he can elaborate on that a little bit. I suspect it’s not middle class families in Kentucky he has in mind.”