Don’t Punish the Success of American Olympians
The 2016 Summer Olympic Games have officially concluded and over the last two weeks the country was introduced to our athletes and their stories of sacrifice and perseverance. From Matt Centrowitz’s thrilling first place finish in the Men’s 1500m to Mara Abbott’s heartbreaking loss in the Women’s road race to the hundreds other athletes representing the U.S. with pride and sportsmanship (Abbey D’Agostino!), Team USA’s Olympic spirit was brimming in Rio de Janeiro. By the closing ceremonies, the United States Olympic Team achieved one of the greatest medal counts in history.
As our Olympians return home, they will be welcomed by proud communities, and their stories will continue to inspire athletes everywhere. But for our medal winners, there is also a not-so-welcome embrace waiting for them: Federal taxes on their winnings awarded by the United States Olympic Committee. Our already overzealous tax code should not punish our best athletes for representing our country and achieving international excellence. Fortunately, Representatives Bob Dold (IL-10) and Blake Farenthold (TX-27) have introduced legislation to exempt these winnings from the athlete’s taxable income.
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (TX-08) has signaled that the committee will consider this bill in September. When that bill clears the committee, Majority Leader McCarthy has announced it will promptly be considered on the House floor.
Here is Leader McCarthy’s statement on the floor announcement:
“Competing in the Olympics requires years of training and, in many instances, athletes must sacrifice more lucrative careers in their pursuit of excellence. The men and women who represent the United States exemplify the best of the American spirit. Removing an unnecessary tax levied on their success is a no-brainer. The House will consider this bill soon after its passage out of the Ways and Means Committee.”
This legislation is a sensible fix to thank our Olympians for their years of tireless work representing our nation.