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. Jon H

    LOL. Oh Nancy!

    I love how the Democrats act like innocent bystanders all the time.

    July 16, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  2. Dante

    all politicians are rich (pelosi is one of the richest) but they ALREADY HAVE THEIR MONEY stashed away, so it's no skin off their back to raise the taxes on the yearly INCOMES of those individuals and small businesses that are actually working......

    it's amazing that pelosi and her band of idiots can keep a straight face when they say government run health care will actually save money and maybe all the money they get from increased taxes will be used to pay down the deficit......a deficit that has passed ELEVEN TRILLION dolllars.......i'd laugh at their moronic platitudes but they are taking us down a dangerous path........raising taxes on the last remaining americans that are working to finance a rushed and bloated governmental pipe dream of crap and tax, obamacare, and pork-filled stimulus is a recipe for disaster.........anyyone who MIGHT spend money in this crippled economy are shutting it down in anticipation of higher taxes, more lost jobs, a weakened dollar with higher interest rates, which cripples the economy further.......

    the economy is heading down, the worst is yet to come and our brilliant leaders are spending us into a hole we may never get out of and the day of reckoning is approaching........have a nice day

    July 16, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  3. Uncle Ellsworthy

    Nancy Pelosi is an idiot, she should be recalled. She is the poorest excuse for a leader this country has ever had. Common sense would dictate that you do not spend money you don't have, most certainly you do not borrow it from China. What happens if they foreclose??? Should we learn to speak Chinese. They and India and Mexico have most of our manufacturing jobs now. If we had those back would we have the unemployment problem that we do?

    July 16, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  4. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Yes its going to be fun taking money from the rich,especially Big Ds.hahaha

    July 16, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  5. Rus in St. Paul, MN

    The bill doesn't do enough where it needs it and too much where it shouldn't. The fact that the bill makes private medical insurance illegal for individuals, does nothing for tort reform to curb one of the highest expenses in the health care industry, doesn't open options for competition, and spends too much makes it overall a bad bill.

    I'm for getting health insurance for every American, but we need to do it better, and we can do it better. This bill is horrible for Americans.

    July 16, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  6. Kat

    Tax the rich, tax the rich!! This "rich" already pay more in taxes than anyone. They are also the creator of jobs that keeps our butts working. Peluso proposes and additional 5% on a family making over a million, do that math, and that is additional to what is already paid. I do not expect a rich man to pay my way. He earned that money, he should have the freedom to with it as he pleases!!!

    July 16, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  7. Save America

    Hey America.....are you happy with the "change" yet?
    Liar in chief really wants to control our health care badly.

    July 16, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. Democrati Ignorati

    annie s said......"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."


    Geez, where do I begin....

    First on the Spendulus Bill, it was hardly watered down. Obama gave concessions on some very small points that were throw-aways at best. In the end, the bill got rammed down our collective throats, and we are sporting a flashy $1 trillion deficit to show for it. And before you respond, that is Obama's deficit. We got that deficit in 9 months. Go read the articles.

    Second, how typical of a liberal to say, "However we pay for it.....". Spend the money for the projects we want, and we will tax someone until they die in order to pay for it.

    July 16, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  9. Asian4Hillary

    If this healthcare is so good and right for the American, WHY is it people in Congress all the way to the Whitehouse ARE EXEMPTED

    July 16, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  10. Proud Member..Party of No

    Finally! Some of the smarter democrats are beginning to wise up and see these marauding imbeciles called the Obama Administration for the rank amateurs that they really are.

    Once again the correct answer to Obama is NO. NO to his degradation of the best health care system in the world. NO to his Cap & Trade ponzi scheme and NO to his 2nd round of political payback stimulus payouts.

    July 16, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  11. Andrew, Buffalo NY

    Lastly, for all you ingnorant DEM's.
    Under Bush, the middle and upper class had the lowest tax rates in 80 years.... But the US had the highest EVER tax revenues. But don't worry thats not something you'll see on MSNBC.

    July 16, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  12. Tina, NC

    Mike in MN, The bill you speak of came out of a committee in the senate that doesn't control Medicare and Medicaid. That's the finance committee. You should see, if finance does their job, the costs go down when they get done with it. That's what I heard Olympia Snowe say this morning.

    July 16, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  13. Rose

    I for one am not among the wealthy that the Dems want to Tax but if I were I would sure resent it. Just because someone is successful doesn't mean they didn't work hard to get where they are, why should they be responsible for paying for other peoples health care. Pelosi needs her head examined. I also wonder why we are told that every person in America will be covered EXCEPT those in congress, why don't they want the same coverage???

    July 16, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  14. Ron

    There is a saying leave well enough alone and if it is not broken do not try to fix it.

    July 16, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  15. Adam

    Shameless theft by the American aristocracy. Tell me again why we don't have term limits...

    July 16, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  16. Asian4Hillary

    The problem of people they just listen to MSNBC instea of READING what's in that bill.

    1. Members of Congress, Senate and WHITEHOUSE are EXEMPTED from this Obamacare. This is ONLY for the American people which will be taxed and fined if they do not get this healthcare offered by Obamacare.


    3. It is ILLEGAL to have PRIVATE Medical insurance if OBAMACARE is passed.

    4. That tax they're talking about right now, will INCREASE if the need is GREATER than what it can provide. They'll tax the so called rich people who are paying high taxes, then middle class and YOU at the bottom.


    July 16, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  17. Sam

    I thought the Democrats and especially Obama were against all forms of discrimination. How is that that as a country we are so willing to blatantly discriminate against a person based on their economic status. Shouldn't they have the same rights as everyone. I am sick of hearing people say the rich should pay their share. THEY DO ALREADY!!! The wealthiest pay 35% of their income in taxes. That's $350,000 for every $1million in income. I would consider that more than their fair share. Now we are asking them to fund our entire national healthcare system! When we give out tax breaks, of course they get the biggest, as they pay the most. It is pretty hard to give a tax break to someone who does not pay taxes....oh wait a minute, Obama wants to give them a tax credit. Wake up America...the wealthy work hard and earn their income and profits and those profits and income fund business growth and jobs and spending. Take it away and this crappy economy is only the tip of the iceburg. Obama wants to bankrupt this country so he force his Socialist Government. Wake up before it is too late. Tell your Senator and Congressman to stop the insanity in pushing Obama's agenda!!!

    July 16, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  18. stormerF

    Get ready all yea who have a job and work for a living,your Taxes are going up to pay for all those who live to vote,while you work to live.

    July 16, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  19. D. Tree

    The Bush tax cuts were irresponsible, and its a moral obligation to make our tax code FAIR again for working people.

    Right now, the Rich pay less percentage than most of us, and at the same time they get more representation.

    Its not about raising taxes for those millionaires, its about making taxes FAIR for all of us.

    We all pay our fair share and the rich should pay just as much as the rest of us.

    July 16, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  20. Gerry

    Our government should offer all Americans the same health care that they get or they should get the same health care that they want to force us to have. Idiots

    July 16, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  21. Kevin B

    The large tax cuts to the rich and corporations coupled with two wars that were funded off of the budget (which is unpredented in american history) caused the current deficits, which were inherited by Mr Obama.

    In order to level the playing field so that the budget can be brought back into some semblance of control. The wealthy must pay a bit more and the wars have to stop.

    The sheer incompetence and irresponsiblity brought by the Bush years have to be reversed.

    July 16, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  22. Zero.

    Youlost me Wolf, as you often do. Paul Mccartney was never a Beatle.
    Never! He was a feather on a stupid wing. A FreeLoader.John Lennon was a Beatle. Ringo! was also a Beatle. McCartny was none-beatle.
    You think I don't k now my own history. The cavern in Liverpool is not the Beatles. :Learn your history CNN, then maybe you wont elect another barack Obam..

    July 16, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  23. Chris

    How about we expect that everyone in the plan participate by "paying" for their portion? Since when did we give Congress the right to 'rob from the rich and give to the poor'? That teaches people who won't support themselves to always depend on others. Health care reform to me means that people who have been getting a free ride from government tax money stop getting that help forever. There has to be a time limit on welfare for people who never worked. And no, I'm not confusing or combining that with the healthcare benefits that working people have earned when they reach retirement and neither should our government leaders.

    July 16, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  24. peter

    it is not the distribution of wealth as some republican saying about the proposal of taxing the high income families or tax payer for subsiding the universal health care, the quality of life which the rich benefited are directly related to the low incomes family life.

    July 16, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  25. Robin

    G. Bridges July 16th, 2009 5:18 pm ET

    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.

    Yes, by all means let's punish the people that have made something of themselves and create the jobs.

    I have a better idea, don't spread my wealth. Spread my work ethic.

    July 16, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
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