July 16th, 2009
04:54 PM ET
13 years ago

Pelosi: Health care surtax could be lowered, not eliminated

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/18/art.pelosihand0618.gi.jpg caption=" Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that a health care surtax may be lowered but that it could not be eliminated."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she would willing to lower the amount of a new surtax on wealthy Americans to pay for health care legislation if more savings from proposed reforms can cover the cost of the bill.

"If we can get more savings, we can perhaps lower the percentage that the high end will pay," Pelosi said at her weekly press conference.

But the Speaker made it clear that Democrats still plan to tax the rich, and said if the money isn't needed to pay for health care it would be directed at the nation's budget deficit. "There is going to be a revenue change at the high end. It will be directly to reduce the deficit or to reduce the deficit by helping to cover the cost of this initiative."

Earlier this week, House Democrats proposed a graduated surtax on wealthy Americans to pay for their roughly $1 trillion health care bill. The new tax is expected to raise $550 billion over ten years. The proposal would add a 1 percent surtax on adjusted gross income for families who make over $350,000 a year. It would increase to 1.5 percent for those families making $500,000 a year, and jump again to 5.4 percent for those making over $1 million a year.

Pelosi said she is also open to making more cost cutting changes to the bill to satisfy a group of conservative Democrats known as "Blue Dogs."

Arkansas Democrat Mike Ross, said he and other Blue Dogs are still discussing the specific changes they will propose to the bill. He said the group is not negotiating any changes to the proposed surtax. But Ross said he didn't favor it. "I don't like the idea of raising taxes in the worst economic recession since World War II, " Ross said.

Filed under: Health care • Nancy Pelosi
soundoff (158 Responses)
  1. SKS

    Who is going to pay for the welfare state and free handouts once you tax all the money earners to capacity? The middle class had extremely low tax rates under Bush by the way. Stop getting all your information from MSNBC you idiots. The silent majority is still strong, believe me, and you loudmouthed, angry liberals will be shell shocked Howard Dean style in 2012.

    July 16, 2009 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  2. Shannon

    Steve in Denver:
    Closeing GTMO: Not yet, apparently he thought everyone would bow to him (Obama) and take terrorists.
    Tax cut for the middle class: a stepping block to raising taxes for everyone when this socialist medical plan is started. Someone will have to pay for it when they realize it isn't as cheap as expected.
    End torture: Torture is a word like terrorist. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. I believe their should be limits on interrogation, depending on who you are talking too.
    Environmental legislation: A bunch of hot trash. Again, he thought other world leaders would bow to the "nice guy". Apparently they told him to pack sand! No one is signing on to that.
    Restore diplomacy: Again, no other world leaders are bowing to Obama, as a matter of fact he is bowing to other world leaders, as well as getting punked by socialists dictators like Chavez and Ortega.
    And don't forget cap and trade, if that passes, expect the unemployment rate to go up.
    We will see how long it takes before he realizes he is a one-termer. God knows what he will try to push through when that happens.

    July 16, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  3. Jim

    I guess I should thank Congress for convincing me to retire at the age of 52. Bush tax cuts will expire (I agree with that) but a 5.4% tax from the House, a 5% surtax coming from the Senate, raising business taxes, medicare taxes, raising the ceiling on social security, and the disastrous Cap & Trade bill from Rep Waxman (I thought California was issuing IOUs and they are writing legislation for the rest of the states?) Hope and Pocket Change should be the new slogan because that is what we are going to be left with.

    July 16, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  4. BarryIn Las Vegas

    If there is so much savings why haven't they already put them into place? And, why would you the Dems raise taxes if they really don't need them.

    This whole Omaba/Democrat Health Care program is a joke and is going to turn our health care system, with all its flaws, into shambles – all for the sake of BIG GOVERNMENT.

    July 16, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  5. The power be with you

    The money has to come from somewhere, it definitely cannot come from the poor, the country will only go down if we don't make any extra sacrifices during this period of extreme hardship. We have inherited this mess, so why don't we work together instead of against each other... for our families and our country? We do need a new health insurance plan if we want to be competent globally...look at our auto industry for example: the high cost of health insurance for the workersmakes it impossible for our cars to be cheaper therefore more marketable than foreign cars. If the auto industry has to spend so much in health insurance, they have to cut somewhere like quality of the product and so on...

    July 16, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  6. Keith in Austin

    To all you liberal freeloaders praising your democratic leaders: Please wake up, stop expecting big Government to keep breastfeeding you and start taking some PERSONAL responsibility. You sound like a bunch of wimps wanting so much to take from those that have succeeded in our Nation.

    July 16, 2009 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  7. Tatianna

    Dems will not be happy until and/or unless every American has a zero networth. A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have!

    July 16, 2009 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
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