Tensions were rising in their ranks on Tuesday, a day ahead of House Democrats’ self-set deadline for completing committee work on their massive social policy bill, that its popular elements, such as child care access, universal preschool, and how to pay for Extended health insurance.
Progressive senators led by Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, and independent Bernie Sanders from Vermont, lashed out at a decision by senior Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee to focus tax increases on a $2.1 trillion package on income tax, not income tax. tycoons like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk charge huge fortunes.
He vowed to continue his campaign to tax first, billions of dollars in assets that grow every year and are not taxed if they are not sold.
“Wealth tax is not something that a bunch of politicians sit and think, ‘Great idea.’ It’s something that the American people say we need to have basic fairness,” said Ms. Warren, who proposed an annual 2-percent tax on the value of household assets of more than $50 million, above $1 billion. rising to 6 percent.
Mr Sanders said he too had not given up.
“The Ways and Means Committee has come up with their proposal; the Senate Finance Committee is working on their proposal,” said Mr. Sanders, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, which will draft that House’s version of the bill. “I think what’s most important at this point is that in times of enormous income and wealth inequality, with a tax system, frankly, that benefits the rich, we begin to address these inequalities. We do”.
Faced with the delicate politics of a narrowly divided Congress, senior House Democrats opted to be more mindful of moderate concerns in their party than their progressive ambitions, focusing on traditional methods of raising revenue through income taxes. did.
Even liberals on the Ways and Means Committee were defending that view on Tuesday. Texas Representative Lloyd Doggett, a second-ranking Democrat on the panel and a veteran progressive, said swing-district Democrats simply cannot be subjected to Republican attacks that would bring a sweeping tax on wealth.
“People who aren’t rich think they will be,” he said, “and they don’t want to be punished for their success.”
But finding revenue to pay for social spending won’t be easy without tapping into the vast reserves of billionaires’ wealth that have gone from year to year without taxes. House Democrats were hoping to raise $500 billion by reducing the cost of prescription drugs, in part by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices and tying up acceptable drug prices to those paid in other countries.
But if Washington has powerful lawyers for billionaires, the pharmaceutical lobby is at least as powerful.
On Tuesday, two moderate Democrats, Representative Scott Peters of California and Kurt Schrader of Oregon, came out against the Democratic leadership’s aggressive drug pricing plan, which was producing a more moderate version This is likely to result in very little savings for the government.