Billionaire tax: Democrats unveil proposal to help fund Biden’s US budget plan

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her colleagues Wednesday that Democrats are “in good shape” on President Joe Biden’s comprehensive domestic plan, but new problems emerged when a pivotal Democrat criticized the new billionaire tax to help pay the $1.75 trillion.

Biden and the Democrats Racing to end the conversations Before the president departs this week for overseas world summits, in part to show foreign leaders that the United States is getting things done under his still-new administration.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psisaaki said the president could visit Capitol Hill late in the day, and that the administration was assessing the situation “hour by hour.”

“We are on the right track now to move forward once we get an agreement,” Psaki said at the White House.

Upbeat comments from Democratic leaders about Biden’s big proposal for social services and climate change programs gave new hope for Wednesday’s deal announcement. But negotiations faltered with new setbacks — the just- proposed tax on billionaires could be scrapped after Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia objected, according to a top party aide, who requested anonymity to discuss private conversations. Manchin criticized it as unfairly targeting the wealthy.

“People in the stratosphere, rather than trying to punish, we should be happy that this country is capable of producing wealth,” Manchin told reporters.

Manchin said he favors a 15% minimum flat “national tax” to ensure that wealthier Americans don’t give up on paying any taxes. “There is a patriotic duty that you must pay something for this great country,” he said.

However, he said, “We need to move forward – the president has made that very clear – he wants to move forward and we owe it to the president to move forward.”

At the Capitol, White House officials met with Manchin and Democratic Senator Kirsten Sinema of Arizona.

“We’re making progress,” Cinema said as she crashed into the elevator.

The accelerated pace of negotiations came as Biden pressed for an agreement before world summits. There is also a deadline on Sunday to approve a smaller, bipartisan road and bridge bill or risk allowing funds for routine transportation programs to expire. But the trillion-dollar bill has been stalled by progressive lawmakers who refuse to lend their support without Biden’s bigger deal.

In a letter to colleagues, Pelosi called for a committee hearing Thursday to consider the packages, an exemplary step needed before the full House vote. Her earlier remarks were relayed during a special House Democrats meeting.

Democrats had hoped the disclosure of the billionaire tax would help solve the revenue side of the equation after Cinema rejected the party’s earlier idea of ​​reversing Trump-era tax breaks on corporations and the wealthy.

The New Billionaires proposal would tax the gains of those with more than $1 billion in assets or incomes over $100 million over three consecutive years.

The richest Americans, fewer than 800 people, will strike starting in the 2022 tax year, requiring them to pay taxes on stock gains and other tradable assets, rather than waiting for property to be sold.

A similar tax for billionaires will apply to non-tradable assets, including real estate, but will be deferred with the tax not assessed until the asset is sold, despite interest being paid.

In general, the tax rate for billionaires will be in line with the capital gains rate, which is now 23.8%. Democrats said it could raise $200 billion in proceeds that could help fund the Biden package over 10 years.

“No senator wants to stand up and say, ‘Gee, I think it’s good for billionaires to pay little or no taxes for years in a row,'” said Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

Taken together, the new billionaires proposal, paired with a new minimum corporate tax rate of 15%, is designed to satisfy Biden’s desire that the wealthy and big business pay their “fair share.” It also fits in with his promise not to impose new taxes on those who earn less than $400,000 a year, or $450,000 for married couples. Biden wants his hiccup to be paid in full without accumulating debt.

“I’ve been talking about this for years,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat who campaigned for the presidency on the wealth tax and supports Wyden’s approach. “I even made billionaires cry because of this.”

While the new tax proposals seemed acceptable to Manchin and could win over Cinema, which needs its support in a 50-50 Senate where Biden has no votes to spare, Republicans derided the billionaire tax as “filled” and suggested he would be legally challenged.

The idea of ​​a billionaire tax has faced criticism from other Democrats as onerous or worse.

Democratic Representative Richard Neal of Massachusetts, chair of the Ways and Means Committee, said he told Wyden that the billionaire tax may be more difficult to implement than the path his team took in raising interest rates for corporations and the wealthy, undoing the 2017 tax cuts.

Under the House bill approved by the Neal Committee, the top individual income tax rate would rise from 37% to 39.6%, on those earning more than $400,000 a year, or $450,000 for married couples. The company’s price will increase from 21% to 26.5%. The bill also proposes a 3% surcharge for the wealthiest Americans whose adjusted income exceeds $5 million annually.

Together, Manchin and Cinema’s objections marshaled in one fell swoop, sending Biden’s sweeping plan flowing and slashing what had been a $3.5 trillion package in half.

It has also led to difficult cuts, if not outright elimination, of policy priorities — from paid family leave to child care to dental benefits and visual and hearing aids for seniors.

Once-massive climate change strategies are losing some steam, too, focusing away from the punitive measures on polluters that have drawn objections from the coal state, in a shift toward rewarding clean energy incentives instead.

Nerves run out while fellow Democrats tire of repeated objections from Mansion and Cinema.

“You have 48 out of 50 people who support an agenda that works for the American people,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, of the Vermont Independent.


Associated Press writers Varnosh Amiri, Darlene Superville, and Colin Long contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2021 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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