Tennessee U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) and Bob Corker (R-Chattanooga) voted on Monday to allow States to levy tax on internet sales-effectively taxing the internet-in a 69-27 vote in the U.S. Senate where the champion of the conservative cause was actually Texas Republican Ted Cruz, who Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada called a "schoolyard bully" because of his opposition to what will be a massive tax increase on most Americans if enacted.
Corker and Alexander framed the so-called "Marketplace Fairness Act" in terms of a states' rights question, saying that States should have the right to collect sales taxes on items purchased over the internet. Senator Cruz, however, pointed out that because of the nature of the internet "this bill, in effect, creates a national internet sales tax." Cruz went on to explain that the businesses the legislation would hurt the most would be small "mom and pop" businesses that sell over the internet, explaining that the threshold for the bill is a "million dollars in gross sales, not a million dollars in profit," and reminding Senators that the legislation would force small businesses to collect sales taxes for every State in the Union which levies them, and would be responsible for their remission.
Passage in the Senate does not guarantee passage in the House, however. A majority of Tennessee's congressional delegation is opposed to the legislation, even though they are supporting Alexander's re-election campaign next year. Predictably, Democratic Congressmen Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) and Steve Cohen (D-Memphis) support the legislation.