July 20th, 2009
04:00 PM ET
9 years ago

Pelosi weighs limiting new surtax to million-dollar households

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that she is considering a major adjustment to House Democrats' health care bill.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that she is considering a major adjustment to House Democrats' health care bill.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - An aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirms to CNN that, in attempt to quell a revolt among conservative Democrats, she is considering changing House Democrats' health care bill so that it only taxes families making $1 million or more.

"The Speaker has said several times she would like to squeeze more savings out of the system, and if we can do that we can reduce the number of people affected by the surcharge," said Brendan Daly, a spokesman for the Speaker.

To raise revenue to pay for reform, the House Democrats health care bill would impose a surcharge on individuals making $280,000 or more and families making $350,000 or more.

Pelosi is now suggesting starting that surtax at individuals making $500,000 and families making $1 million.

The Speaker first raised the idea in an interview with Politico.

Last week, 22 Democratic House freshmen sent a letter to the Speaker saying they were "extremely concerned" about what the taxes in their party's health care bill would do to small businesses.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Democratic freshman from a conservative swing district in Virginia, told CNN he believes a surcharge could hurt his constituents.

“It’s important to remember that with the expiration of the tax cuts on the highest income level, folks over a certain income level are going to see their tax rate go from 35 percent back to 39.6 percent,“ Connolly told CNN.

"To add to that a 5.4 percent tax to finance health care, on top of other fees and so forth that are being discussed, I think is wrong."

But he said Pelosi's idea to eliminate the tax on any individuals making below $500,000 helps.

"It narrows the number of people who would be affected. I think it probably goes a long way in protecting the small businesses we were concerned about and it puts more pressure on our House colleagues who are writing the bill to identify more in savings." Connolly told CNN.

As for Republicans: House GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence, R-Indiana, slammed the surtax in any form. "It almost boggles the mind that the majority in Congress would continue headlong down a pathway toward increasing the tax burden on anyone at a time when our economy is shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs per month," said Pence.

Filed under: Health care • Nancy Pelosi
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. Nettie

    Maybe if organizations like Planned Parenthood were NOT given 350 million of our tax dollars to kill babies there might be enough money to partially finance healthcare issues. Pelosi and her ilk are totally out of touch with reality. My trust is all polticians is nil.

    July 20, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. Kevin B

    The assumption that only the rich pay taxes is a ruse and a disingenous GOP talking point. The wealthy have had thier free ride for quite sometime now, so rolling back tax breaks to the 1990's levels will not kill the incentives to create jobs or aspirations to be rich.

    Even Warren Buffet and Bill Gates recognize the inequities are overly skewed towards the wealthy.

    Do not carry the propaganda load for the greedy millionaire AM radio entertainers and their lackeys in congress , Americans need health care reform to allow for future prosperity for all, not just the wealthy

    July 20, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. Gary

    I don' t make that much money but honestly if a person makes $1 million per year and the the money is earned then it is their money. Not the government's money, not poor people's money, not my money. I just don't believe in over taxing anyone even the rich people.

    Everyone that I know who makes alot of money (over $100K/yr) work very hard, long hours, well educated etc. These are exactly the people who are contributing the most to our economy today under the current tax code. I don't want to punish them with more taxes.

    The real problem in this country is the people who won't work. They make excuses, try to claim disability, they think that they are too good for certain jobs even though they have no education. It's pathetic. EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE TO WORK IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE IN ANY GOVERNMENT PROGRAM INCLUDING HEALTHCARE.

    July 20, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    @ Scott the Independent, who asked "Why is it that when we discuss spending money on Americans in America its cost too much; but we don't have a problem tossing money all over the rest of the planet?"

    Because the last thing they want is a truly level playing field...then they might actually have to compete, instead of enjoying the fruits of nepotism and inherited wealth and power. If you ask me, it's high past time we ripped the silver spoons out of their mouths and who gives a crap if it takes a few teeth with it.

    July 20, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  5. Scott the Independent

    @Democrat no more – you obviously aren't rich so why are you protecting their money don't you think they can afford to hire lobbyist to do that?

    July 20, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  6. Lisa

    Fine with me under two conditions: 1) all members of Congress should be subject to this same taxation...NO exceptions and 2) they take the same crap health care program they foist on the rest of us. Until then, no deal, Madame Pelosi....anything less is hypocrisy!

    July 20, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  7. makesUwonder

    nom deplume July 20th, 2009 4:49 pm ET

    Dutch says "Congress needs to turn into Robin Hood."

    To which I respond: " . . . . from my cold, dead hands."
    Ditto...............nom deplume

    "A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money".
    --G, Gordon Liddy-–

    July 20, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. J.C.

    I had an opportunity to use the Canadian Health Care Service in a walk-in clinic while visiting Canada. I paid 60 Canadian dollars for the service, which included ten minutes of waiting and 15 minutes with the doctor. I only interacted with two people: the receptionist and the doctor. The receptionist gave me a small form to fill in with my name, address and emergency contact. Then the doctor came to get me, entered my medical information into the computer himself, and gave me a prescription. This is the shortest doctor's visit I have had in North America, but it works. We badly need efficiency and effectiveness in our health care operations.

    I can understand why we need extra people working unproductively in any field after we lose too many jobs overseas. However, it is counterproductive IF we just give unnecessary jobs to people so they can live on. These people could have had a creative job and do great things. Our current system wasted not only lots of money but also human resources. Let's get rid of private health insurance companies and free up the human capital for more productive ideas and jobs. Education is the foundation to make us creative again. Increasing personal services and retailing cannot sustain our economy.

    July 20, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. Pat F

    Obama, don't let Pelosi call ALL of the shots, or you'll be house-hunting in January 2013.

    July 20, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  10. Zero.

    For every captive who is murdered by the Taliban. """One Mosque should be destroyd."" Until you treat them for what they are, they will test your metal

    July 20, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. JLS

    Can someone please, please make Pelosi just go away? Everytime she opens her mouth, I want to cringe. How anybody voted for her is just a cruel joke on the American public. Ship her back to San Fran, which is probably the only place she makes sense!!

    July 20, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  12. Chipster

    For 8 years, the wealthiest Americans received a huge tax cut while the rest of us did not. What's wrong with rolling their taxes back to what they were? If it will help dig us out of the hole we're in, it's worth trying. Make no mistake about it – health care costs are driving our debt up at an ever increasing rate. WE pay for the uninsured when they go to the emergency room with conditions that often could have been prevented with far less expensive care.

    For those who show their ignorance by chastising Obama for "allowing Pelosi to ......" Obama doesn't "allow" Speaker Pelosi to do anything. She is an elected official and Speaker of the House. She has ONE vote in the House of Representatives. ONE! The Legislative Branch writes the legislation. The President can make recommendations but he does not write legislation. He can sign it or veto it. That's it. Pelosi does not dictate to the President, nor does he to the Speaker.

    You really should study how government works before making such comments.

    July 20, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  13. Dave in Illinois

    The primary equation here is how many votes do the Democrats gain as Pelosi raises the "tax the rich" level for health care. I thought they were the party of the little guy fighting against the evil upper class but I guess some of those rich guys must vote Democratic.

    Pushing it up to $1 million probably exempts half of the taxpayers over the $350,000 level. Of course that means they'll have to punish those truly rich people even more by doubling the surcharge to make up the difference.

    July 20, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  14. BILL, WI

    Anyone making more than $110K should have to pay this surcharge. With only one exception..... if the person files under Schedule SE then they would be exempt from the tax.

    July 20, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. H R Mickelson

    Stop playing the republican game. Taxing the wealthy is a joke. They do not pay anywhere close to the percentage of tax that the average wage earner pays. Out of the top tax rate if they pay 10 % it is most likely a lot, many pay no tax at all. So while the rest of us pay 20 to 27 % they pay much less.
    Democrats, let get smart and really get the money that is required. NO ONE believes the wealthy will pay. HERE IS AN IDEA. – Cut their tax rate 2 % but give them no deductions. Any income over say $300,000 can no longer claim any deductions. Easy to do and politically smart as the republicans can’t scream tax increase. Just think of the REAL money that would be generated!
    It is way past time for the wealthy to pay their full tax rate and stop rapping the system.

    July 20, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  16. European-American

    Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that guy behind the tree.

    July 20, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  17. Botox Pelosi

    Pelosi is the Liar of the House.

    July 20, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  18. Randolph Carter

    Labor creates wealth. Not the other way around. Have a nice day!

    July 20, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  19. Proud Member..Party of No

    lolol...man, what a bunch of clowns these democrats are. They have no idea what they are doing. This must be just killing all the democrats to see their Mr. Hope & Change turn out to be such a dismal failure.

    July 20, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. marshall

    And how much does Congress make?

    July 20, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. Operation Crush Rush

    Remember what happened to the guy or guys back in school who got the whole class in trouble, to where they had to stay after school?Its time to take these republican foot draggers under the bleachers.

    July 20, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  22. Kevin B

    It is duly noted that a segment of society feels that no sacrifice or contribution is never needed for the good of the nation as whole, these folks be they rich, middle class or poor tend to generally trend as republicans.

    These are the very same folks that would support an ill concieved war abroad and gladly send your sons and daughters to die for said war, but would not lift an finger to volunteer.

    Greed and selfishness are sins and have become sadly become an american tradition.

    What ever happened to America?

    July 20, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  23. JJ

    So what have we learned in 2,064 years ? Apparently, Nothing!

    "The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled,and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."

    Cicero – 55 BC

    July 20, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "For every captive who is murdered by the Taliban. """One Mosque should be destroyd."" Until you treat them for what they are, they will test your metal"

    So what should we be humbly accepting as our righteous punishment for those we tortured? How about the 100K+ dead Iraqis or the families we helped them leave behind when they died? Comments like yours show zero understanding of the issues.

    July 20, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  25. Randy

    @@@ Sarah July 20th, 2009 1:33 pm ET
    You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
    You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
    You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
    You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
    You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
    You cannot build character and courage by taking away men's initiative and independence.
    You cannot help men permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.

    You cannot Defraud the Poor to become Rich.
    You cannot take Bonuses from the Bail Out Money of the Tax Dollars of Poor, Like the Wall Street Executives.
    You cannot take Private Jet Rides from the Bail Out Money, Like the Bank of America Executives.
    You cannot Scam the Poor into Sub Prime Lending on unreasonable Adjustable rate mortgages.
    You cannot mislead the Poor to Iraq war for your greed for Oil.

    July 20, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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