American politicians Charles Schumer and Paul Ryan could hardly be more different. But Mr. Schumer, the left-leaning Democratic Senator, and Mr. Ryan, the conservative Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, are united in their opposition to the European Union’s decision to slap Apple with €13 billion ($14.5 billion) in back taxes.
The European Commission’s ruling on Tuesday, which ordered Ireland to collect the record penalty from the Silicon Valley technology icon, was “a cheap money grab,” Senator Schumer blasted.
“This decision is awful,” agreed Speaker Ryan, calling the move a “direct violation of many European countries’ treaty obligations” and “precisely the kind of heavy-handed taxation that kills jobs and opportunity.”
Led by E.U. Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager of Denmark, the European Union’s executive body called for Irish tax authorities to recover the “illegal tax benefits” from 2003 to 2014, plus interest that experts say could add another €6 billion to Apple’s bill.
But judging by the initial reactions in Washington, with Obama administration officials also condemning the action, the ruling has the potential to damage relations with the European Union.