Republicans reject 'Buffett rule' in the Senate
In this file photo, President Obama congratulates Warren Buffett after presenting him with a 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom in an East Room ceremony at the White House. (Carolyn Kaster / AP File Photo / February 15, 2010)
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April 16, 2012, 4:18 p.m.
Republican-led opposition blocked the 'Buffett rule' from advancing in the Senate, turning back an election year effort by President Obama to slap a new tax rate on those earning beyond $1 million a year.
Nearly all Republicans voted against the measure, a potentially risky move at a time when 60% of voters support the measure, according to a recent Gallup poll, as a way to ensure wealthy Americans pay their fair share of taxes.Democrats are likely to revive the effort in coming months.
But Republicans stood firm in their opposition, calling the measure a “gimmick” that was more about blaming the wealthy than reining in government spending and deficits.
The Senate voted 51-45, mostly along party lines. The measure needed 60 votes to advance. One Republican, Sen.Susan Collins of Maine, joined Democrats in voting to advance the measure. One Democrat, Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, voted against.
“Most people have heard enough about this president’s notion of fairness,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader. “To most people, what’s fair about America is that they can earn their success and expect to be rewarded for it.”
Named for Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor who has said he should not enjoy a lower tax rate than his secretary, the Buffett rule would impose a minimum 30% tax rate on annual incomes beyond $1 million. The top income tax rate is now 35%, but many wealthy households pay less because of deductions and lower rates for income that comes from investments rather than earnings.
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