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. Malia

    Can't stand her! And another idiot from San Francisco wants to be Governor of California - fat chance! We are gearing up to put Meg Whitman in Sacramento in 2010...

    July 16, 2009 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  2. southerncousin

    Now that we know how Pelosi fired back and somehow made Cheney and the CIA responsible for her lying, when is she going to tell us about her investigation of the tax cheating Charlie Rangel. I can hardly wait to hear how that was Bush/Cheney fault. What a piece of worthless garbage this woman is.

    July 16, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  3. Nancy, NC

    Nancy, you are a liar. You think that money is falling from the sky. We work hard and we earn our daily bread. You do not know anything about hard work. Imagine even our new senator from NC voted in favor of this Health bill. I will make sure that she is not re-elected form our state. She wants to support Barack Obama's radical agenda. Get a life.

    July 16, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  4. Moderate Democrat

    Let's get something straight.

    The rich do not pay more in taxes if you begin talking about portion of each take home dollar given to uncle sam. When you include the tax write offs, they pay less per earned dollar then others. So when you conveniently ignore "Tax Shelters'....then your propoganda becomes true. But when you include ALL factors, the rich pay less per dollar then the poor. And that, is not right.

    And as a person that's not rich, but (barely) takes a 6 figure income, I am all for EQUALITY. Tax all the same, per dollar take home. And don't be a sick little cop out that wants the less fortunate to cover the portions of your dollar that you are too unamerican, too greedy and too dishonest to pony up yourself!

    July 16, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  5. makesUwonder

    Looks like the lies of Obama, Reid, and Pelosi might not be working as well as they once did.

    July 16, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  6. joe m

    Real reform will NEVER come out of washington. Both sides have their agendas and PACS and corporations hedge their bets by having enoungh from both sides in their pockets.

    July 16, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  7. michaelam

    I never claimed to be a mathmetician, but even I can figure out that 1% of 350,000 is $3500.00. When you make over 300K a year, will $3,500 less really make a huge difference in your life? I mean, many of us are cutting out internet service, going out to dinner, trips, fueling the econonmy......but $3500 dollars for the rich is chump change........or......one less political contribution to a moraless, unethical, politician from the Party of NO!

    Raise the taxes on the rich! And those jobs they provide? Yeah, they went overseas and YOU are unemployed!

    July 16, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  8. T Mckinley

    If the Democrats allow the Republicans to succeed in derailing health care reform, then I believe that every American should rise up with one voice and demand that EVERY member of Congress give up their government health care plan, go out into the private market, and pay for their own health insurance OUT OF THEIR OWN POCKET like the Republicans want us all to do.

    If we can't have universal healthcare, then neither should they.

    Is anyone on board with me?

    July 16, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  9. Failin' Palin embodies the Republiklan creed “money talked and Ms. Bu!!$h!t walked” away from her pledge to serve the citizens of Alaska!

    Some of you saying you do not want to "pay for others" should look beyond that narrow little limbaugh lemming nose. Who in the he!! do you think is paying for those "others" today? You are you morons, and you are paying at the highest possible rate, the emergency room rates!

    Now for those same little weak minded lemmings that do not want healthcare "rationing", what do you think it is when the insurance company will pay for you PPO doctor but no other one. What do you call it when some insurance admin clerk making $9 dollars an hour denies you services because the insurance company and it's "experts" decide you do not need the procedure YOUR doctor prescribed?

    Some of you are too stupid to understand an explanation of reality

    July 16, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  10. Wesley

    California will break the back of any Federal health care reform.
    California has been importing poverty for the last 30 years and there are just too many people without insurance.
    It is not fair to the rest of the country to carry California on its back

    July 16, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  11. Four and The Door

    It seems any time Speaker Pelosi speaks anymore it is some kind of a Public Relations stunt. That's all this is. Jump on board whichever way the wind is blowing today.

    July 16, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  12. kevin

    America's rich were given 8 years of anything they possibly wanted under the republicans, including huge tax cuts, and they ran the U.S. strait into the ground.

    Now they, the very rich, the same people people, can pay our collective way out of it. These tax increases can then be scaled back for the next generation's rich once the world economy is back on track but these ones can reap what they've fricken sown.

    July 16, 2009 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  13. Meidy

    The really sad thing is the implied view that "the rich" are simply burning their "extra" money in the fireplace and that they won't miss it. The increased tax comes from somewhere....and it won't be from my retirement account contributions nor will it be from my contributions to my kid's education accounts (can you say FULL tuition). No, the money will come from the money we spend helping others – charities, churches, good will to others, etc. What a shame for these organizations....they are the one's who are really footing this bill. I came from a lower middle class family. I paid my own way through school, repaid my loans and worked my tail off to succeed in my company. I'm where I am because I work harder at my job than most and because I continue to improve my skills to do that job. I resent uninformed, jealous talk about "the rich". If you don't like your lot in life, do something about it. Enough with the handouts.

    July 16, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  14. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    The democrats, Nancy Pelosi included will not take the extra money and pay down the deficit, they will find more social wefare programs and pork to spend it on. Next when there is not enough the middle class wil have a surtax added to pay for this since every American diserves a new body transplant.

    July 16, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  15. annie s

    Matthew Detroit....France does not have the same health care system as Canada and the UK – France's system, while universal, is handled entirely through private insurers. Some facts – infant mortality: France, Canada and UK have considerably lower rates than we do. Life expectancy – yep, the French, Brits and Canadians live longer than we do too. Not to mention that we spend a lot more than they do on health care too.

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

    This so called health care bill should be DOA period. This country is broke; people when are you going to realize that? This bill says everyone is required to have a health care plan; that's communism anyway you look at it when a gov. offical tells you that you have to have a health care plan. By the way all you libs who say the wealthy shouldn't have tax cuts and are still blaming Bush to cover Obama's butt I have one question for you. How many poor people have you seen than can create jobs??? I'm waiting For your answer!!! Without jobs your family cannot be taken care of.

    July 16, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  17. New Independent

    Just a quick thought – Lets see what you all have to say and do in the fall of 2012. As for me I plan on doing research and then vote. No more sayings like "change" and more actions are required.

    July 16, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  18. aCorNN watchdog

    Can we lower or eliminate Pelosi?

    July 16, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  19. Marc

    Andrew, Buffalo NY – And look were Bush economic policies took US...

    July 16, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  20. Tom L

    I am in absolute disbelief at this idea of universal healthcare. I must have read the wrong Declaration of Independence. I didn't realize it said we have the right to life, liberty, HEALTHCARE and the pursuit of happiness. There is nothing more fundamentally UN-American than pooling money together from people who make a lot of money to pay for things for people that don't make a lot of money. That's called socialism.

    July 16, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  21. Sam

    For anyone who thinks this government can administer healthcare is either very gullible or just plain ignorant.

    July 16, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  22. Steve F

    To everyone saying the rich pay too much in taxes and they earned it...you do realize 1) If they're paying too much, why are they still rich? Obviously what they're paying now isn't a burden on them and 2) They're only rich because they provide some service the rest of society wanted. If it wasn't for the little guy, they wouldn't have their money. They owe society something in return, and $1 million more in taxes on someone who makes $10 million/year is still $9 million more than I have. I have no pitty for the rich who are finally being forced to do their duty and pay back society from which they're making their millions! Way to go Obama; finally taking the leadership role we've lacked for 8 years!!

    July 16, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  23. Chris - Denver

    I hope they don't lower it or eliminate it. If you don't like making enough money to pay the surtax, I'm sure plenty of people would be happy to switch places with you!

    July 16, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  24. Time for a 20% Straight Tax on ALL

    Socio-ecomonic Discrimination is what this is. We are penalizing a class of people because of the income they are able to achieve and consider this to be fair?. We are at a stage where everyone in this country has the ability to succeed. There are millions of people who choose not to become educated and better themselves. There are those that view maintaining their status as uneducated and unemployed as "keeping it real". Why should someone who works hard, puts in the time at school and their job to get promoted and earn more, be asked to fund these programs at a higher rate than the rest of us. Those who make more already pay higher % of taxes. If Obama said we were all going to be taxed another 3%, we would all be outraged, but as long as it is not us we are ok with it? I have news for you; when you increase taxes on businesses and the wealthy, you will see it in higher priced goods, services, lower wages, unemployement, etc. Obama will bankrupt this country if that is what it takes to get his Socialist agenda passed.

    July 16, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  25. T Mckinley

    @democrati ignorati

    The middle class need the money, the rich don't. Don't you Republicans have ANY conscience at all?

    July 16, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
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