U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building Wednesday, September 15, 2021 in Washington, DC, United States.
Olivier Contreras | Bloomberg | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – After a stifling summer, President Joe Biden is set to spend the fall fighting for tax hikes on the rich and on businesses.
The growth of the delta variant of Covid-19, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, hurricanes, wildfires, evictions and inflation have all drained the approval ratings of Biden and White House staff.
Now he is turning his attention back to the generation-by-generation expansion of the social safety net and infrastructure package.
Biden told the White House on Thursday why Congress needed to raise taxes on wealthier Americans and corporations to fund his “Build Back Better” program.
“The data is absolutely clear,” he said. “Over the past 40 years, the rich have gotten richer and many companies have lost their sense of responsibility to their workers, their communities and the country.”
Biden pointed to the relationship between CEO pay and average employee compensation, which has increased more than 15 times over the past five decades.
And in a year when millions of Americans have struggled to pay their rent and keep food on the table amid historic unemployment levels, Biden said the net worth of the richest people in the country world had grown by about $ 1.8 trillion.
“How is it possible that the richest billionaires in the country can completely avoid paying income tax on their income? Biden said. “How can millionaires and billionaires pay a lower tax rate than teachers, firefighters or law enforcement?
progress in the house
The president’s speech comes just a day after the House Ways and Means Committee of the Tax Drafting House voted to move the tax portion of the social safety net bill forward.
The regime increases the maximum corporate tax rate by 5.5 percentage points and the maximum personal income tax rate by 2.6 percentage points, respectively. If passed in writing, the new federal corporate income tax rate would be 26.5% and the new top personal income tax bracket would be 39.6%,
The proposal also includes a 3% surtax and a 25% capital gains tax on personal income over $ 5 million.
In addition to the tax changes, the Ways and Means Bill includes $ 80 billion in additional funding for the Internal Revenue Service, money that Democrats say will improve law enforcement and help the government. government to collect hundreds of billions of dollars in tax evasion over a decade. Will help.
Biden stressed the need for this funding on Thursday.
“Today in this country, right now, the richest 1%, for example, avoid about $ 160 billion in taxes every year,” he said. “Not the new taxes, the taxes they have to pay.”
“It’s not a level playing field. My plan will help solve this problem. For example, this will give the IRS the resources it needs to keep up with the lawyers and accountants of the super rich. ”
Biden also described a more controversial provision, not included in the Ways and Means Bill, that would require banks to disclose account entries and exits to help the IRS monitor tax evasion.
The next step
Now that the Ways and Means Committee has pushed the tax part of the bill, it is headed by the House Budget Committee, which will consider them, along with other elements of the final bill passed by various committees.
The Wages and Means Committee vote was the first step in a sprint towards the September 27 deadline, which House Democrats have set to vote on both the $ 1,000 billion infrastructure bill. dollars passed by the Senate and the $ 3.5 trillion safety net bill.
Over the next 11 days, House and Senate Democrats will have to write, review, and prepare for the biggest changes to federal benefits since Obamacare took over in 2010.
At the center of this massive effort will be Biden himself, both as the leader of his party and as a skilled Congress negotiator in his own right.
Any doubts about how the president wants to engage in the legislative battle were dispelled on Wednesday, when Biden held separate private meetings at the White House with two of the Senate’s most centrist Democrats, the senator said. ‘Arizona. Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.
Munchkin and Cinema have expressed doubts about the size and scope of the social safety net bill. In particular, the cinema questioned the size of the bill and Munchkin expressed concern over some tax hikes.
Biden was due to continue his outreach activities Thursday when he spoke by phone with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Biden would need the vote of every Democratic senator to pass the bill across parties through a 50-50 split Senate, with a decisive vote from Vice President Kamala Harris.
Public opinion is a factor that has worked in Biden’s favor so far. Americans have supported raising taxes on the rich and corporate to finance infrastructure and extend benefits to working families.
But the tax hike is facing stiff opposition from business groups such as the US Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable, which are willing to spend millions of dollars to fight the hike.
Cracks are already visible in some of the Democrats’ main proposals to generate enough income to generate a profit.
On Wednesday, a plan to give Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices and thereby save the government billions of dollars failed to progress in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Three Democrats joined Republicans in voting against the measure, which the pharmaceutical industry strongly opposed. After the vote, Democratic leaders began work on a deal to put Medicare’s bargaining power back into the bill.