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. Asian4Hillary

    When a lifelong Democrat and a minority like cannot stand the Democratic Party anymore; it says one thing – DEMORACTIC PARTY IS CORRUPT!

    July 16, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  2. malclave

    Well, if the Democrats would stop funneling our money to their special interest groups... then they wouldn't be Democrats, but the country would be a lot better off.

    July 16, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  3. Asian4Hillary

    I've seen so many CORRUPT POLITICIANS like Pelosi, Reid, Dodd, Barney Frank and other corrupt Democrats where I came from. They don't come by cars, they come by the truckloads like we are seeing now in this country. I always thought the Democratic Party is a righteous party, doesn't believe in corruption, doesn't believe in usurping the will of the people, I WAS WRONG. The Democrats are DICTATORS. Where I came from we OUSTED the dictator.

    America, what ya gonna do about it? Are you just gonna sit down there and let these corrupt people ruining this beautiful country? This current administration and ALL democrats in both houses have SURPASSED third world countries in GRAFT and CORRUPTION. While third world country are fighting to the death to end graft and corruption in their country, USA is promoting it.

    July 16, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. T Mckinley

    One of the big reasons why we are in the financial mess we are in right now is because of George W. Bush's tax cuts to millionares and billionares.

    These people should do the right thing and give all the money back so we can pay down the deficit.

    July 16, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    Stop the Bush/Cheney wars. That will provide $12 billion a month, $144 billion a year, $1.4 trillion over 10 years.

    July 16, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  6. G. Bridges

    Typical complaints from the rich. God forbid they would have to give a little back to help out the country that gave them the opportunity to become rich in the first place. Let me get my violin.

    July 16, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  7. Me in Big D

    All you lazy dems that have you hands out and don't pay taxes and expect other to pay your way, you are going to bankrupt this country! It will be nothing compared to your supposed complaints with the republican party. The democRATS with their big spending agenda and all Obummer's special interests will break this country's back!

    July 16, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  8. Class war

    Welcome to the class wars. HAhahahahah our turn.

    July 16, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  9. usa99

    Don't you get the feeling that on most days Pelosi doesn't know what planet she's on?

    July 16, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. Mike in MN

    This bill has much bigger issues than how much to tax the rich.
    Earlier today the CBO said it will not lower costs it will increase them.
    The American people want reform that lowers costs and makes health care available to everyone. A bill that does just one or the other is not a good bill. I believe the CBO has also said that the current proposed bill fails to cover everyone, leaving something like 20 million of the current 46 million still not covered.
    What Americans need is for Congress to take the necessary time to craft a bill that works to lower costs and covers everyone.
    But Obama is rushing Congress to pass any old bill by August. What is the rush? Priority should be to get it right. Why must it be done by August? Is it because his approval ratings are dropping by the day and he thinks passage will prop them up?
    The majority of Americans want reform that reduces costs and makes health insurance available to everyone. They will support however long it takes to craft a bill that does that. A rushed bill that fails to do that will result in a further erosion of Obama's approval rating.

    July 16, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  11. Adam

    Name one campaign promise that wasn't a FLAT OUT LIE! These Democrats can't be trusted! Their lies are indefensible!

    July 16, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  12. Tina, NC

    I have a bad feeling that we are going to get a watered down bill that will do nothing to reform our system.

    If the blue dogs screw this up they will be in the dog house come 2010!

    July 16, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  13. annie s

    Don't make too many concessions Madame Speaker – we can't water it down to appease a few conservatives like we did the Recovery Act. Access to affordable health care should be a right for every American, and only comprehensive, serious reform with a public health option can deliver it. However we pay for it, the cost of NOT passing an overhaul of the current system will end up being much higher.

    July 16, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  14. Matt

    Shouldn't government health care be the exact same plan that the members in congress get? If they are successful in passing this how will it look when members of Congress get an amazing health care plan and everybody else gets the lesser one? Will I be able to the same doctor Ted Kennedy gets? Can I get botox from Pelosi's doctor? Will you pay for mine like you did hers?

    It will be interesting to see the spin once the MSM gets off their butts and realizes the hipocracy. What makes them think they are so much better than you or me?

    July 16, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  15. Jesup

    Put some lipstick on that PIG and sell it NANCY.

    July 16, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  16. Slowhand

    These idiots could not run a lemonade stand and make a profit. All obumba, uselosi and greedy reidy want to do is rush this thing through as a grandstand show, with the working class paying for it as usual so that the lazy can have more give away programs. I forgot to add gin tub teddy as well.

    July 16, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  17. Illinois Native

    That's right– tax the rich! In fact, let's just take it all!! After all, what do they need with their money? Let's redistribute all the wealth so that everyone is equal. Of course there will be no reason for anyone to try and better their situation because we'll all be equal but that's the goal of socialism is a redistribution of wealth.

    I say the first thing we do is tax the politicians who get FAR more than their fair share of free perks.

    July 16, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  18. Pat, CA

    I am absolutely disgusted that the Democrats want to RUSH this bill through. It's clearly a matter of "we won, so let's get it done before we lose again." They could care less about presenting a workable, equitable solution to America's health care problems! They just want it while they're termporarily in power.

    Furthermore, we all know that any costs they cite now will just grow and grow and grow as things move along. That's the way with ALL government programs.

    July 16, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  19. Larry

    Keep working it out guys. I know you can do it.

    July 16, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  20. Just Say No to Socialism

    So many talkers on here think others should just pay more in taxes. Its okay for someone else too but of course not you. Raise my taxes and know what I will do, just fire an employee.

    July 16, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  21. vttom

    Really folks at CNN... Who much cares 6 months into a new President's Administration regradless of whom or what party what the 2012 outlook is. There is enough news w/o this digging.

    Maybe CNN can spend another 2 weeks full time on Michael Jackson's untimely death and not tlet the family have one second of peace. CNN is getting as bad as any Tabloid ever has been. Can you folks get back to journalism ( AARON BROWN) and away from news d' jour.

    July 16, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  22. John

    All those Men who hate Pelosi, are Jealous, because they can't see a Woman in Power, and a Women superior and successful to them.

    I am a Man too. But I like Pelosi because she is a Woman of Principals.

    She is not a Dumb Ass like Dick Cheney, who cannot even hunt a Quail.

    July 16, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  23. Moderate Democrat

    Ok.....Pelosi's picture makes me sick too.

    While she's not nearly as bad as most of the republican party, and certainly better then the worst of their party, she is still one of the low points for democrats.

    July 16, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  24. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    @ Asian4Hillary

    You sound like a puppet for the GOP. Where you come from you OUSTED your dictator. Well this is a democracy and there is no dictator, unless you are referring to the last 8 years. A Coup de' tat will not take place in America so get the thought out of your mind. Get a clue and stop acting like you are upset with democrats when you have probably never been one in the first place. You sound like Boss Limbaugh asian sister.

    July 16, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  25. johnnie

    The time has come to give (NANCY PELOSI) some respect, she is a (WARRIOR) and very intelligent, and a (LADY) with style and class. The (GOP) has been very ugly with (THE SPEAKER OF HOUSE) because she has exposed their (GREED)and their (LIES) and is a Woman, that does not take their (BULL) and will stand toe to toe , with the (PARTY THAT GOT US INTHIS MESS). I give her praise for being tough with those (HATERS). Women are rising to power, like they should be, the President embraces (NANCY PELOSI) because she has earned her stripes and badge of honor. My mother was a minister and suffered , alot from boneheaded men,who thought she not qualified to preach, (NANCY PELOSI) has been a target of the (gop) and she will not be swayed from doing her job. I was taught to respect a woman, i respect my wife, and i respect (NANCY PELOSI) may God bless you always , keep up the fight for America, Am a BIG FAN OF ( THE SPEAKER OF HOUSE) MY SHE – HERO) ........

    July 16, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
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