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. Debby

    Ross is right its ridiculous to have people that have worked hard for their money pay for others healthcare by taxing them. What happens when the so called wealthy can't afford insurance by paying for everyone else's what will happen then. The Dems. are such idiots.

    July 16, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  2. GGG

    Nancy Pelosi is a liar!!! plain and simple and until the Democrats decide to take and USE thier own health plan that they are craming down our throats,Why would we... ?????
    Wake up!!!
    Boy... this is some "change"Obama!!!

    July 16, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  3. JoJo

    Why making health care so complicated. It's getting confusing. Why thet don't make it free for everyone, rich and poor. If some countries can do it, why not us.

    July 16, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  4. Lesley

    What rubbish. Where do some of you bloggers get your information? Trickle down wealthy-oriented tax breaks have ruined the country or haven't you been paying attention. The Bush tax cuts have been in place for the last 8 years, and are still in place today, and look at the job losses that are continuing to mount. And you want to give them more cuts? The wealthy few in this country have choked the life out of the middle class. Lazy dems that don't want to pay taxes? The wealthy have had the benefit of large tax breaks ever since the Reagan years and revved up after Bush pushed through his tax cuts, and where is that money going? Are they providing jobs? NO. Is the economy stable? NO. There has been a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to the top 5%. Kowtowing to the likes of Boehner and the Blue Dogs won't restore it either. Pelosi is not tough enough.

    July 16, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  5. wagon


    I don't make anywhere near the surtax threshold, but I believe the rich pay enough already. Maybe the bottom 50% should kick something in for the services and handouts they get. Everybody should pay an income tax (in 95% of the cases) even if it's 2 or 3 percent. It seems the bottom 1/2 gets the free ride in this country.

    July 16, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  6. mike

    Time to fire a few more employees.

    July 16, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  7. annie for Palin

    Let all of congress try this plan for 3 or 4 years just to see how it works. If it works well then we can all go on it. Wonder if it would cover pelosi's botox? We all know they get to keep their own special insurance – so there is no way taxpayers want this crap! obama can even run this country without a teleprompter so why would we want him and his czars in charge of our health care. Notice cnn did mention the$700,000 the bankrupt social security spent on partying and dance lessons. SHAME ON YOU!!

    July 16, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  8. annie for Palin

    How about taxing goldman sachs for the money they made on manipulating the oil markets. You know pelosi one of the companies you have stock in. They didn't pay any tax last year plus they stole millions of our tax dollars. How about all the stock pelosi owns in companies who will come on line if crap & tax passes. Major investments being made in how those credits can be traded.

    July 16, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  9. gary

    living in canada half my life and the last half in the united states, i am 58 years old trust me people you have the best health care in the world my father died because he did not see a doctor while he was in the hospital for about 2 weeks before he was seen again, my relatives tell me they have to wait at least 2 months to see a doctor i had cancer 14 years ago and so far i have had no recurence because of the excellent care i recieved by american doctors in canada i would have to wait at least 3 months to be treated and would have died listen people i know the difference in both systems and all i can say is god bless america and its wonderfull doctors if pelosi and her gang like the new health care lets see congress have the same health care as the rest of us,

    July 16, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  10. annie for Palin

    Why is pelosi willing to make changes to accomodate the 'blue dog dems.' Couldn't she threaten them enough?

    July 16, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  11. Cali J

    The Dems on this board are making me laugh harder than I have in a long time.
    YES, tax those evil rich people. BUSH is too blame for all of this.
    THANK YOU Queen Nancy.
    When these looney bins get what they wish for, I want to be there to see the idiotic look on their faces.
    Capitalism and Freedom are the only way. Work hard and succeed instead of waiting for a hand to feed you. You are not equal unless you make yourself equal. You losers on the left have only recently won. The damage you've done in a very short period of time and the stupid things you say and believe in will bring the Republicans, Liberitarians, Independents, and Blue Dog Dems together for overwhelming defeat of liberalism and socialism in the upcoming elections. Please keep hating and spouting your leftist rants. Let's hope and pray it's not too late when we take this country back!

    July 16, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  12. RealityKing

    Nancy and her liberal Congress has taken the American budget deficit from 100 billion in 2006 to 1 trillion and counting by June in 2009. Progressive CHANGE you can believe in..

    July 16, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |

    Why is she still in politics. She along with Kennedy's, Kerrys and Richardson is the reason I'm not after 51 Years a Democrat anymore.

    July 16, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  14. Johnny DC

    Maybe what Messiah Obama meant was Change (in 2012).

    July 16, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  15. Russ

    It's amazing to listen to most of you boneheads on here. By the caliber of your comments I'm guessing none of this tax stuff will affect your minimum wage jobs. If this was such an amazing health care system, why are so many people without health care? Make all employers provide health care and there wouldn't be anything to blather about now would there. Just like if all of you Right wing anti-abortion fanatics would adopt all of the unwanted children we wouldn't need to have that discussion either.

    July 16, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  16. jb

    if we cannot tax the rich for the money to pay for healthcare we will tax them and put the money towards the national deficit – how is that going to induce anyone to go out and start a business?
    – you don't realize how expensive health care can be until you get it for "free"

    July 16, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  17. DaBird

    @Steve in Denver – What makes you think that the Dems will cut spending after spending more in six months than in the history of the US? That is really closed minded. I don't like the Republicans or the Democrats. THE CBO SAID TODAY THAT TAXES WILL GO UP 44% TO BALANCE THE BUDGET IN 2020. That is just to balance the budget.............WHAT ABOUT THE $14 TRILLION DEFICIT. WAKE UP PEOPLE.

    July 16, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  18. bella

    I really hope that Congress will find some other way to "finance" the healthcare overhaul. I believe that taxing the rich, will only be a decision that will come back to haunt them! Originally, when running for President, Mr. Obama committed himself to find ways to pay for it without tax increases. To do so now, I believe, is going to make him open for much criticism. And in my opinion, his hard work so far shouldn't be compromised by such a decision.

    July 16, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  19. cramit

    Im a small buisness , my gross is what they will tax . I gross $300,000 and pay out $205,000 then I pay taxes, With this crap I endup at $32,000 with a family of 4. Thanks Qsama

    July 16, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  20. R M M

    Wake up America !! Why is it that they want this passed and signed before the end of next month?? If this is such a great plan then why are the senators and represenitives exempting themselves?? It reminds me of the desperate used car salesman who wants you to sign the deal NOW!!!!! Can we trust our future medical needs to the same people who promised us that their stimulus package would create 4 million new jobs??? I dont think so

    July 16, 2009 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  21. Say what???

    Again the DIMWITCRATS along with Heil Pelosi and Barump Obumma have no freaking idea. While already pushing through with the inept Spendulus Bill and a possible second one coming, which will put my grandkids in debt, they are now thinking about taxing the very people who create the jobs in this country to pay for health care??? Obumma said the Spendulus Bill was going to create jobs. Haven't seen that yet. Now the DIMWITCRATS want to tax the very people who are making jobs?????


    July 16, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  22. Carl Justus

    I do not feel sorry for the super rich for they have gathered money like if was falling off the trees the last eight years.

    Many of the super, especially the Gates, the Buffets, the Walton's, Steve Jobs, and the founders of Google, Yahoo, E-Bay, and many others who have millions of shares in the company have raked in 246 thousand dollars for every million dollars of taxable income they receive from DIVIDENDS ALONG, plus an additional 5000 dollars from the lowered capital gains tax to 15%, and that is above the 46 thousand they got from the lowered tax rate for the richest from the 39.6 percent to 35 percent.

    They have stuffed their bank accounts while the those in the 15 percent tax bracket got a massive 6 hundred dollars cut in their taxes, almost enough to replace the exhaust system on my 8 year old car.

    July 16, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  23. flabbergasted canadian

    To Seebofubar?????I'm Canadian and our government has never become involved in any citizens' health care decisions; a decision for surgery is between the doctor and the patient. Our government-funded public plan doesn't cover all health-care costs. We are covered for visits to a g.p. or visits to a specialist, emergency room visits, surgeries, etc.

    We also pay for private health care insurance to cover health-related expenses that aren't covered under the public plan (like optometry and dental care, medication, physio-therapy, private hospital rooms,etc.); if we don't have a private health plan then we pay ...not the government. You might want to do a little research and get your facts before you make such a foolish comment.

    Our system may not be perfect, but at least in Canada health-care is considered a right for all Canadian citizens and not a privilege.

    By the way, did you get your information from O'Reilly and the Fox News Network?

    July 16, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  24. Gator

    Before it's over it won't be only the rich that will be paying for this fiasco.Congress will be taxing the working class to the hilt so poor little so and so who has lived off the government their whole life can have health care.Hell they have it now!!!!!

    July 16, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  25. garyprinz

    Pelosi will ruin this country by not letting the Democrats move to the center on any thing. I fear that thedemocrats are sealing their fate for 2010. I look for the republicans to win big. The Republicans are setting the ambush today.

    July 16, 2009 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7