Entries in Buffett Rule (11)


Buffett Rule Fails in Senate Test Vote

Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) -- As expected, the Buffett rule failed to move forward after a test vote in the Senate Monday. The vote was 51-45, with one Democrat voting against the rule (Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.) and one Republican voting for the rule (Sen Susan Collins, R-Maine).  Sens. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii; Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Mark Kirk, R-Ill.; and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., did not participate in Monday's vote.

In a paper statement, Sen. Lieberman explained that he would have voted against the bill if he was able to be present for the vote Monday night.

"I am not opposed to the Buffett rule because I am opposed to raising income taxes on the wealthiest Americans," Lieberman said in a statement, "I am opposed to the Buffett rule because it would double to 30 percent the capital gains tax on one group of investors and therefore reduce exactly the kind of capital investments we need to get our economy growing again and create jobs."

After the bill failed the procedural hurdle Monday night Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., pointed his finger at Senate Republicans.

“Today Senate Republicans again put millionaires ahead of the middle class," Reid said, "The measure that Republicans blocked today would have restored fairness to our tax code and reduced the deficit without asking middle class families or seniors to sacrifice any more than they already have."
The “Paying a Fair Share Act” has been dubbed the so-called Buffett rule because of the example used by the administration that billionaire investor Warren Buffett pays a rate lower than his own secretary. The bill would ensure that the highest-earning taxpayers pay at least a 30-percent tax rate.
Republicans have argued that the Buffett rule would just raise taxes on small businesses, the people who could create jobs in the economy and is motivated rather by political purposes.
The bill was first introduced in the Senate in early February by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., after it was first proposed by President Obama in his State of the Union address.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Buffett Rule Expected to Fail in Senate Test Vote

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- After a big push by the White House, the Senate will hold a test vote on the Buffett rule Monday. The bill is expected to fail close to a party-line vote, falling short of the 60 votes needed to get cloture to move forward to debating the bill.

The “Paying a Fair Share Act” has been dubbed the so-called Buffett rule because of the example used by the administration that billionaire investor Warren Buffett pays a rate lower than his own secretary. The bill would ensure that the highest-earning taxpayers pay at least a 30-percent tax rate. Taxpayers earning less than $1 million would not be affected by this bill.

Republicans argue that the Buffett rule will just raise taxes on small businesses, the people who could create jobs in the economy, and is motivated rather by political purposes.

The bill was first introduced in the Senate in early February by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., after it was first proposed by President Obama in his State of the Union address.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Biden to Attack 'Romney Rule' on Taxes

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Joe Biden will attack Mitt Romney on taxes in Exeter, N.H., Thursday, using his fourth in a series of campaign issue speeches to frame the Republican candidate as a protector of the rich.

Biden will coin a new phrase -- “the Romney Rule” -- to illustrate his case, according to excerpts of his remarks released by the Obama campaign.

“The Buffett Rule says that multi-millionaires should pay at least the same percentage of their income in taxes as middle-class families do,” Biden will say.  “The Romney Rule says the very wealthy should keep the tax cuts and loopholes they have, and get an additional, new tax cut every year that is worth more than what the average middle class family makes in an entire year.”

Biden refers to the so-called Bush tax cuts on individuals earning more than $200,000 and families making more than $250,000.  Romney wants to extend and expand the cuts, which are set to expire at the end of the year; President Obama wants to let them lapse.

“Look, these are tax cuts to people who didn’t ask for them, who don’t need them, and who know the nation can’t afford them,” Biden will say.  “And it matters.  There’s a stark choice we have to make.”

By raising the Bush-era cuts, Biden adds a new dimension to the ongoing tax debate in Washington and on the campaign trail that has recently been focused solely on the Buffett Rule.  It also expands the scope of impact of Democrats’ calls for higher taxes, from a small fraction of the top 1 percent of taxpayers to roughly 3 percent of all taxpayers.

Obama has been making the case that higher taxes on wealthier Americans is a matter of fairness and one that will help trim the deficit and underwrite “investments” in services to benefit the middle class.  Biden will underscore those themes.

The New Hampshire address caps Biden’s debut tour on the 2012 campaign trail.  He used previous appearances to defend the administration’s record on the auto bailout in Toledo, O.H.; tout a resurgence in manufacturing jobs in Davenport, Iowa; and tweak Republicans’ plans to overhaul Medicaid in Coconut Creek, Fla.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Calls for Taxes on Rich to Fund 'Investments' for Middle Class

Marc Serota/Getty Images(BOCA RATON, Fla.) -- Against a backdrop of electrified young voters in a state critical to his re-election, President Obama on Tuesday delivered a politically-charged argument for higher taxes on the wealthy in a push to galvanize his support among the middle class.

In speech billed as a policy address at Florida Atlantic University, Obama doubled down on his economic case for a second term, which he said favors enhanced spending on social programs to benefit the middle-income Americans in sharp contrast with Republicans’ proposals to spur growth through upper-income tax cuts alone.

“Investments in things like education and research and health care, they haven't been made as some grand scheme to redistribute wealth from one group to another,” Obama told a crowd inside a packed gymnasium. “This is not some socialist dream.”

“They have been made by Democrats and Republicans for generations because they benefit all of us," he said, "and they lead to strong and durable economic growth."

Obama compared Republicans’ budget plans to a “science experiment” that was tried and failed during the eight years before he took office.

“Some people who pedal these trickle-down theories including some members of Congress and some running for this office who shall go unnamed,” Obama said, alluding to Republican rival Mitt Romney.

“They have doubled down,” he said.

The president also took Republicans to task – without naming names – for backing steep spending cuts to reduce the deficit while not specifying the specifics.
“They should show us specifically where they’d make those cuts,” Obama said. “So show me.”

“They'll say, well, we've got to make these -- all these drastic cuts because our deficit is too high,” he added. “Our deficit is too high.  And their argument might actually have a shred of credibility to it if you didn't find out that they wanted to spend $4.6 trillion on lower tax rates.”

Obama said his proposed Buffett Rule -- to ensure that millionaires and billionaires pay a minimum effective tax rate of 30 percent on their income -- could underwrite "investments" he wants to make, netting an average $150,000 in new revenue per millionaire or billionaire.

Legislative versions of the Buffett Rule are expected to come up for a vote in the next few weeks.  
“I want you to call your member of Congress, I want you to write them an email, I want you to tweet them,” Obama said. “Remind them who they work for.  Tell them to do the right thing.”

The measure is not expected to pass the House or the Senate.

Republicans say Obama’s campaign around the rule – holding at least 20 events to discuss it instead of focusing on job creation or deficit reduction plans -- is purely political class warfare.

“The fact is that President Obama has no plan to fix the economy, except to raise taxes on Americans with gimmicks like the Buffett Tax,” said Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama’s Weekly Address: Making The Country ‘A Little Fairer’

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- President Obama is urging Congress to pass the “Buffett Rule,” saying lawmakers who oppose it will have to “go on record” and explain to the American people where they are getting the money to keep funding tax breaks for the wealthy.

“We have to make choices. When it comes to paying down the deficit and investing in our future, should we ask middle-class Americans to pay even more at a time when their budgets are already stretched to the breaking point? Or should we ask some of the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share?” Obama said in his weekly address.

The president’s proposal would require those making more than $1 million a year to pay at least the same tax rate as middle-class families. The rule is named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who has said publicly that he should not pay a lower tax rate than his secretary.


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“Some people call this class warfare. But I think asking a billionaire to pay at least the same tax rate as his secretary is just common sense. We don’t envy success in this country. We aspire to it. But we also believe that anyone who does well for themselves should do their fair share in return, so that more people have the opportunity to get ahead – not just a few,” the president said.

Obama, who has positioned himself to run against the “do-nothing Congress,” said if lawmakers “vote to keep giving tax breaks to people like me – tax breaks our country can’t afford – then they’re going to have to explain to you where that money comes from.”

“Either it’s going to add to our deficit, or it’s going to come out of your pocket. Seniors will have to pay more for their Medicare benefits. Students will see their interest rates go up at a time when they can’t afford it. Families who are scraping by will have to do more because the richest Americans are doing less,” he said. “That’s not right. That’s not who we are. In America, our story has never been about what we can do by ourselves – it’s about what we can do together.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Democrats Revise Obama Jobs Bill: New Tax On Millionaires 

US Senate(WASHINGTON) -- Hoping to win over Democratic support for the president’s jobs bill, Senator Reid announced Wednesday he’s tweaking the $447 billion jobs plan by substituting some of Obama’s provisions for a tax increase on the “richest of the rich,” those earning $1 million a year or higher. 

“The American people believe it is time for millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share to help this country thrive,” Majority Leader Reid, D-NV., said on the Senate floor Wednesday  morning. “So when Democrats bring this common sense job legislation to the floor, we'll ask Americans who make more than $1 million a year to contribute more to help this country reduce its jobs deficit.”

The move would throw out the pay-for provisions that were listed in the White House-written American Jobs Act and replace it with a 5% tax increase on millionaires. The 5% surtax on a millionaires' earned income rate would not be permanent, lasting for the next ten years and would completely fund the $447 billion jobs bill, Reid said today. 

Obama had proposed higher taxes on family incomes over $250,000 and on the oil and gas industry as a way to pay for the bill. Some Democrats, like Senator Schumer, D-NY., faced a constituent base that would have been hit hard by the higher tax rates, so the increase to a surcharge on millionaires will likely win over Democratic votes.

The Democratic leadership believes they have an “overwhelming majority” of Democrats for this bill now, although confess there has not been a proper whip count yet, with the new proposal.

Democrats said they have consulted with the White House over the change to the president’s original proposal and they are “fine with the idea,” because the president was always open for alternative ways of paying for the bill.

Republicans will surely stand in opposition to this tax increase. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY., said that Senate Democrats have decided to make the changes to the bill in order to “sharpen” their “political edge.”

Reid today was asked why he would propose this when he knows he will not have Republican support for the bill, nor would it go anywhere in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

“Seventy-five percent of Republicans support this tax.  The problem is, none of them are in the Senate.  So they're going to have to listen to their constituents,” Reid said, “the Republicans have to make a decision.  They can -- they can hang on to their mantra:  no new taxes.  But I would suggest that they're really not keeping in touch with their constituents.”

The Democrats are setting up a contrast -- hoping to cast a Republican vote against this as a vote to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest 1% of America instead of aiding in the economic recovery.

Majority Leader Reid says that he’d like to set up a first vote on this “very soon,” likely within the next few days after finishing the China currency bill.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


GOP Candidates, President Obama Could Pay Higher Taxes under Buffet Rule

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(WASHINGTON) -- Some GOP presidential candidates may have more to lose than political points if the debt super-committee adopts President Obama’s deficit reduction plan, one provision of which would raise taxes on some millionaires to ensure that high-income earners do not pay a lower tax rate than middle-class Americans.

According to his 2010 tax return, Obama’s effective federal income tax rate was about 24 percent. With a reported income of about $1.7 million, the president paid the same rate as a married couple who earned $101,000 after deductions. Under the Buffett Rule, the president would undoubtedly have to pay higher taxes to push his taxable income into the highest 35 percent tax bracket.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney would likely have a much heftier tax burden as well because the majority of his income came from his investments, many of which are taxed at a lower rate than salary. Romney is the wealthiest candidate on the GOP primary ballot bringing in between $9.6 million to $40 million in 2010, according to campaign disclosure forms.

By ABC’s approximations, Newt Gingrich reported the second-highest income, totaling between $2.6 million and $2.7 million. Almost all of Gingrich’s income was paid in the form of dividends from his company, Gingrich Productions. Although Gingrich falls into the millionaire category, he probably would not pay significantly higher taxes under the Buffett Rule because dividends are taxed at virtually the same rate as salary.

Herman Cain, on the other hand, could see a fairly large increase in his taxes under Obama’s Buffett Rule because a large portion of his income stream is from less-taxed capital gains. Cain’s disclosure forms showed that he took in between $230,000 and $1.3 million from capital gains in 2010.Cain’s total income for the year was between $1.1 million and $2.4 million, making him the third wealthiest GOP presidential candidate.

Rick Santorum, the fourth-highest paid GOP candidate, would probably not see his tax burden increase significantly because his 2010 income of between $1.4 million and $1.6 million came almost solely from salary. The former Pennsylvania senator earned $1.3 million in consulting and news media contributor fees.

All of Jon Huntsman’s reported income came from his investments, but it was unclear whether the bulk of it would fall under the higher-taxed dividends or lower-taxed capital gains. Huntsman reported earning between $688,700 and $3.7 million in 2010 making him the second wealthiest candidate if his profits came in on the high end of the approximation or the sixth wealthiest if he earned closer to the low end of his reported income range.

Depending on where his income level actually lies, Huntsman may fall short of the Buffett Rule tax increases. The same is true for his fellow GOP contender Ron Paul, who reported earning between $400,000 and $1.3 million in 2010.

About $174,000 of Paul’s income is from his congressional salary, which would theoretically not be taxed at a higher rate under the Buffett Rule.

Neither Perry nor Bachmann would be affected by the Buffett Rule, seeing as their incomes were significantly less than the $1 million threshold.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Cornyn Wants to See Warren’s Buffett’s Money

United States Senate(WASHINGTON) -- Now that President Obama has unveiled the “Buffet Rule” as the key principle behind his deficit reduction plan, one prominent Senate Republican is calling on billionaire Warren Buffet to publicly release his tax returns.

“If he’s going to be the gold standard, so to speak, in terms of what our tax policy should be, let’s look at them,” Senator John Cornyn, R-TX, said to ABC’s Jonathan Karl.

Featured prominently in the Administration’s $2 trillion deficit reduction plan is the “Buffett Rule,” a controversial provision named after Warren Buffett that establishes a minimum tax on Americans making $1 million or more in income.  Ahead of the president’s proposal, Buffett penned an op-ed in the The New York Times called “Stop Coddling the Superrich,” where he argued that he should not be taxed at a lower rate than his non-billionaire staff.

Cornyn suggests the Administration’s proposed “Buffett Minimum Tax” (BMT) is really just a revamped version of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) – an unpopular measure first adopted in 1969 that was designed to hit the super wealthy.

“Unless we stop this, 30 million middle income tax payers will be affected,” Cornyn said in presumed defense of the middle class.  “It’s an illusion to say we’re only going to tax the rich.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rep. Fleming Says He Has Only $200K to Feed His Family

Fleming [dot] House [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- Republicans have decried the president's proposal to increase taxes for the wealthiest citizens, saying the move could hurt small businesses and the economy.

Rep. John Fleming, R-La., a physician and business owner, has become a lightening rod for criticism after he went on news shows to lobby against raising taxes.  He said President Obama's proposed tax increase, including the "Buffett Rule" which will raise taxes for some individuals with more than $1 million in income, is a job killer.

Fleming said "most small businesses in this country today are taxed at the individual level as Corporation LLC.  So whatever is cut out of those earnings is money taken out of capital for reinvestment for creating more jobs and opening up more locations," he said.

Fleming has a $6.3 million gross annual income, but his net income is about $600,000, he told MSNBC this week.  Fleming's net worth is $9.5 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics' research based on his personal financial disclosures.  Fleming, however, is not included in Roll Call's list of the 50 richest members of Congress.

"You can see his worth even in Congress is well above the average," Michael Beckel, spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, told ABC News.

Some liberal bloggers have criticized the Congressman, saying that many American families are struggling to get by on a fraction of what he takes home.

"What happens is, in my own case -- my own LLCs -- the income flows to my personal tax return, whatever is left over after taxes are paid, I feed my family on the one hand and on the other hand I reinvest in my business," Rep. Fleming said.  "By the time I feed my family I have, maybe, $400,000 left over to invest in new locations, upgrade my locations, buy more equipment."

Beckel said spending $200,000 to support his wife and four adult children is a "sizeable safety net" at $33,333 a person.

"Most Americans don't budget $200,000 a year to feed their family.  That would be a luxury that most Americans would have to put on their table," Beckel said.  In Louisiana, where Fleming resides, the cost of living is below the national average.

Rep. Fleming did not return a request for comment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Details His ‘Balanced Plan’ to Reduce Nation's Deficit

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama outlined a revamped plan Monday to reduce the nation’s debt by more than $2 trillion in new deficit reduction through tax increases and entitlement reforms, asking “everybody to do their part so that nobody has to bear too much of the burden on their own.”

The plan, however, will likely be deemed dead on arrival by Republicans, who have vowed to reject tax increases as part of any plan to bring down the deficit.

“We can’t just cut our way out of this hole,” Obama said Monday in the Rose Garden.  “It’s going to take a balanced approach.  If we’re going to make spending cuts … then it’s only right that we ask everyone to pay their fair share.”

The bulk of the savings in the president’s plan comes from $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction through new taxes for high-end earners and $580 billion in cuts to entitlement programs, including $248 billion to Medicare and $72 billion to Medicaid.

The president’s recommendations for the Congressional “super-committee,” which is already tasked with identifying $1.5 trillion in cuts by Thanksgiving, are an attempt to quell criticisms that he has failed to offer a detailed outline of his vision for a “balanced approach” to deficit-reduction.

“Everybody, including the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations, have to pay their fair share,” the president said.

In total, the president’s plan will claim more than $4 trillion in deficit reduction through entitlement cuts, tax increases and war savings, in particular, including $1.2 trillion in savings from the Budget Control Act and $1.1 trillion from drawing down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While the proposal is likely to please Obama’s Democratic base, the president is seeking to draw contrasts with Republicans and force them to align with corporations and the wealthy.  Obama made clear on Monday that he will veto any plan that seeks to cut the deficit through spending cuts alone and does not include tax increases as well.  

The move puts the White House at odds with Republicans who have already spoken out against the president’s plan to raise taxes, calling it “class warfare.”

Republicans are specifically taking issue with the president’s “Buffet Rule” proposal.  Named for the billionaire investor Warren Buffett,  the rule means those making more than $1 million a year would not pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than middle-class families pay.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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