Republicans are threatening tax hikes and boycotts to punish companies that criticize restrictive voting laws

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offers a stimulus compromise at a press conference with Republican Senator from Wyoming John Barrasso (L) and Republican Senator from South Dakota John Thune (R) at the Capitol.

  • Top Republicans have proposed punishing corporations who criticized GOP bills restricting voting.
  • Firms including Coca-Cola and American Airlines have criticized the bills in Georgia and Texas.
  • In Georgia GOP lawmakers attempted to strip Delta Air Lines of tax breaks.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Republicans are threatening to punish corporations that have spoken out against voter suppression laws with tax hikes and boycotts.

In a statement Monday, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell accused corporations that oppose the laws of acting like a “woke alternative government.”

He warned that this “will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order.”

McConnell was responding to statements from companies including Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines criticising laws that restrict voting in Georgia, brought in by the state GOP.

Major League Baseball also pulled an All Stars game from the state last week in protest at the law.

American Airlines and Dell computers have criticized proposed voting restrictions in Texas, where they are based.

McConnell didn’t detail what consequences the corporations might face, but Politico on Monday reported on warnings and legislative moves by Republicans to end tax breaks or extract other financial penalties.

  • Georgia’s GOP-controlled House last week voted to end Delta’s jet fuel tax breaks, with the airline a major employer in the state. The measure though was not passed by the state Senate before it went into recess, leaving it off the table for now.
  • Prominent Republicans, including Sen. Josh Hawley, Sen. Mike Lee and Donald Trump Jr have advocated stripping the MLB of its status as a sport and not a business under anti-trust laws.
  • “Why are we still listening to these woke corporate hypocrites on taxes, regulations & anti-trust?” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., tweeted, adding to a general chorus of criticism.
  • Former President Donald Trump in a statement last week called for supporters to boycott corporations including Coca Cola and Delta.
  • Rodney Anderson, Chairman of the Dallas Republican Party, tweeted and later deleted a message on Friday suggesting cancelling tax breaks American Airlines and Dell have in the state.

The escalating battle over voting restrictions places the Republican Party in the unfamiliar position of going against some of the biggest names in corporate America. The party has long positioned itself as the champion of low corporate taxes and free enterprise.

Among Donald Trump’s key policies was a huge 2017 corporate tax cut passed by the then-GOP-controlled Congress.

In recent years some corporations have eschewed their usual neutrality to take positions on so called “culture wars” controversies.

Trump during his presidency several times urged boycotts of companies he accused of opposing his administration’s agenda, such as tire firm Goodyear, and championed companies owned by allies and supporters.

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