Democrats: Surtax on high-earners would pay for Obama's job plan
October 5th, 2011
03:50 PM ET
3 years ago

Democrats: Surtax on high-earners would pay for Obama's job plan

Washington (CNN) - Senate Democrats Wednesday unveiled a five percent tax hike on annual income over $1 million, which they said would raise the nearly $450 billion needed to offset the cost of President Barack Obama's recent proposal to boost employment and stimulate the economy.

However, the idea was met with a not-unexpected thud by Senate Republicans who steadfastly oppose tax increases and indicated it won't pass the narrowly divided chamber.

"We're going to move to have the richest of the rich to pay a little bit more," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, at a Capitol news conference.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, immediately said he and his colleagues would block any tax increases.

"We don't think raising taxes in the middle of a recession is a good idea," he told CNN. "I think we made that pretty clear in the past."

The Democrats' plan would place a surtax on any income earned over $1 million. That would include earned income - like salary - and unearned income - like profits from dividends or the sale of stocks. Taxes on estates worth more than $1 million would also be subject to the surtax.

The new Democratic plan would replace a not fully-defined proposal from the president to pay for the jobs plan. It was unpopular with some Democrats because it included tax hikes on the wealthy and on corporations like oil and gas companies.

"An overwhelming majority of Democrats" support the plan, said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, a Democratic leader.

Top Senate Democrats acknowledged it might be difficult to win GOP support for the bill, but said they hoped public opinion surveys that show broad support for increasing taxes on the wealthy would persuade Republican senators.

"They have to listen to their constituents," Reid said.

Reid is expected to move the bill as early as next week, but senior aides acknowledged Republicans will likely defeat the measure on a procedural vote before the bill even makes it to the floor.

Asked about the Senate Democrats' proposal, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said Wednesday, "I think that has support here in the House."

"I think we'd be very pleased to support it, and in fact some of our members may like that alternative better," Hoyer added, saying, "I'm sure that's the case as a matter of fact" but he acknowledged he hasn't canvassed all House Democrats on the proposal.

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Filed under: Charles Schumer • Harry Reid • President Obama • Senate
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Rickster

    "The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters finds the generic Republican earning 47% support, while the president picks up 41% of the vote. Four percent (4%) prefer some other candidate, and eight percent (8%) are undecided."
    ----------------
    One and done, Barry. Now go hit the showers.....you had your chance and you failed miserably.

    October 5, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Those of you who vote against the President's jobs bill have no business representing Americans.

    October 5, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. Max

    Tax them!! And then tax them again!!! For taking away middle class workers paychecks so they can become among the homeless!!! I say tax them early and often!!

    October 5, 2011 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  4. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    What total losers. Why don't the Democrats go after the hundereds of billions in waste, fraud and abuse to pay for more failed jobs programs? So while Obama doesn't care about over a half billion tax dollars being stolen by Solyndra, they want even more to flush down the socialist tiolet. These fools need to go in 2012 or the country is doomed.

    October 5, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    @ Rickster

    Don't believe the hype.

    October 5, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  6. Upol

    Stop talking, time to see some action although I have doubts.

    October 5, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  7. Teabug

    Must protect those millionaires at all costs. They are easily shaping the debate for 2012. Class warfare: protecting millionaires at the expense of all others

    October 5, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. S.positive

    President Obama will win in 2012 because the alternative is weak. Hence the ongoing normination confusion in the gop

    October 5, 2011 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Democrats doing nothing but wasting their time on something they know will not pass. Playing politics while Rome burns. And why didn't Harry Reid bring Obama's jobs bill to the floor of the Senate for a vote as the Republicans requested??? Because not even the Demorcats will vote for it! It is GARBAGE and they know it. They also know Obama is history in 2012 and they are jumping ship FAST in order to survive.

    October 5, 2011 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  10. Newmoon2

    Has McConnell considered the fact that the recession is hitting the working class a whole lot harder than the wealthy? I didn't think so.

    October 5, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Pass the bill! What is wrong with you people?

    October 5, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. Orchid333

    It kills me that these Republican representatives would halt and stall what could be a really good boost for the economy just to protect their wealthy investors. Seriously? And you middle-class republicans really support this? Is there no Republican that's out of work, or looking to help their own small business along? Why protect these guys while those who need work the most stand by and wait for them to NOT hire? Because I seriously don't see any increase in hiring by these "millionaires" who would supposedly stop hiring if they were taxed a little higher.

    October 5, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Teabaggers are history in 2012.

    October 5, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  14. Sick of Repubs

    People forgot who got us in the mess, lets see tax breaks for the wealthy, wars we have tp pay 50 for a six pack of coke, 100 for laundry to Haliburton. Lets see Haliburton gave millions in donations, like the Insurance companies that provide Health care, Koch bothers who founded Tea party so they wouldn't have to pay decent waged and insurance to there employers. Solydra startred in 2005 under Bush, Obama just kept funding them like Bush do, donm't let the facts get in the way. 50,000 companies left and went over seas under Bush. Now they want to Deregulate Wall Street again so they can steel more money. You idiots they kept voting for right atre stupid they don't care about you. Just because your Dad voting for them you are doing the samething wake up. They don't want the rich to pay any taxes, GE, Citi, Wells, Oil companies don't pay 1 dime in yaxes because the have over 4000 loop holes for them is it fair for the rest of us to pay 30% anf they pay none. But you can voting for them thinking you are one of them if you are .0.4% then vote fot the Repubs if not wake up they can care less. Also Obama didn't get us into the mess the last 8 years of Bush did

    October 5, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. MTATL67

    So glad the Republicans gave $260,000 so the squirrels in Kentucky can have a home maybe when more Americans lose their homes because they don't have jobs can move in with them. I still have seen no tangible proof from any extremist or Republican that their policy of "NO to Everything" has helped to improve the country. I am in my new home because of President Obama's policies and spending money. Ford is adding 12,000 jobs and investing $16B in US plants by 2015. The President brokered all deal between all the factions in the auto industry. How many jobs have been produced from the “No to Everything” Policy of Sen. McConnell, Rep. Boehner and Rep. Cantor and the GOP/extremists in Congress? I couldn’t seem to locate any. Then I remembered my basic math 0-0=0 or 0+0=0. Great job boys.

    October 5, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "And why didn't Harry Reid bring Obama's jobs bill to the floor of the Senate for a vote as the Republicans requested??? "

    Because McConnell attempted to tack it onto the bill concerning the Chinese currency issue and did so with a procedural maneuver that would not have allowed any debate or amendment of the proposal. What Reid did is called responsible governance. What McConnell did is called playing games.

    October 5, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  17. Joe M.

    Obama is a joke. If it wasn't so serious, everyone would be laughing at him.

    October 5, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  18. johnfx

    So let me get this straight. The plan is to take money away from those who would likely have it invested in companies that would probably invest the money in job creation. Then spend that money (minus administrative costs, and the typical Government markup on Government programs) on public sector projects to stimulate job growth through those same companies.

    This seems kind of like taxing the Red Cross in order to fund disaster relief programs.

    October 5, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. johnfx

    For all you Libs who love this plan. Why not just go rob a rich guy's house tonight? It's only fair, I mean they have more money than you. Forget the fact that they are supporting by paying the majority of the taxes.

    October 5, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. Neil IL

    Republican Legislator Task List:

    1. Protect the historically low tax rates for millionaires and billionaires (Celebrities, Pro Sport Athletes, Hedge Fund Managers) – it's more important than tackling the deficit.

    2. Tackling the deficit and cutting spending and government programs is more important than fixing infrastructure, repairing schools, providing pelgrants for college students, investing in R&D, giving workers the right to unionize.. IE Jobs!

    3. Whenever talking about the economy, call it Obama's economy. Not congress's or America's.

    4. All bills issued by democrats are radical socialism, not common governance.

    5. Something bad happened, it's an illegal immigrant's fault.

    October 5, 2011 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. Scott

    It's gonna be funny when it finally hits so many Rep-ublicans that they are not rich. And while they join their leadership in circling their little raggedy wagons around these bohemoth millionaires, I just have to laugh. Bo-ortz = just signed a $40 million contract... Limb-augh = $400 million contract... Ha-nnity $100+ million bucks... Of course they'll protest. But as soon as they hollar "class warfare", Billy in the double-wide, sets down his beer, and pumps his fist saying, "YEAH!!! THATS CLASS WAREFARE!" Funny...

    October 5, 2011 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  22. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    It's pretty obvious which posters here are "Foxed in the head" because they consistently post lied and propaganda. Note to you Solyndra whiners: Where were you when the GOBP was shoveling out corporate welfare to Big Oil and Halliburton?

    October 5, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  23. Job help

    Let me understand the people making a million a year are the owners of small companies, the ones how do most of the hiring. So your going to tax those that hire the most so your could increase hiring. So you could put money into for example "Green Jobs"like Spain. Spain now says their Government Green job program cost 2.2 private

    October 5, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  24. Guest

    Democrats doing nothing but wasting their time on something they know will not pass. Playing politics while Rome burns. And why didn't Harry Reid bring Obama's jobs bill to the floor of the Senate for a vote as the Republicans requested??? Because not even the Demorcats will vote for it! It is GARBAGE and they know it. They also know Obama is history in 2012 and they are jumping ship FAST in order to survive.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    Or maybe....and stay with me here this might be too much for your brain to handle.... the democrats want to find a way to pay for the Presidents job bill before they bring it to a vote because they know that if no plan is in place to pay for the bill the Republicans will cite that as a reason to not vote for it.

    October 5, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  25. Eduardo

    Like we will never forget about 9/11 we have to keep in our mind who put AMERICA in this ugly crisis, ding ding ding! You are right. The REPUBLICANS did it. So make up your mind and on 2012 vote against the REPUBLICANS and clean AMERICA.

    October 5, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
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