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The Buffett Rule is meant to ensure that upper-income earners pay similar overall tax rates as middle-class Americans. Wealthy earners typically pay a lower tax rate on investments than those whose tax burden is primarily derived from wages. The issue remains a priority for Democrats and will be one of their major platforms as they make their case to retain the White House and the majority in the Senate.
Democrats believe upper-income earners have been the beneficiaries of tax policies — implemented by Republicans — that help the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.
On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney tied the GOP's opposition to eliminating the oil and gas subsidies to Democrats' broader attacks on Republican tax policy.
"What we don't need is another proposal that says we have to preserve and extend tax cuts for the very wealthiest of Americans, who have done extremely well in the last decade; we have to preserve tax subsidies and breaks for oil and gas companies that are enjoying record profits, subsidies that have been in place for a century. That's taxpayers giving money to oil and gas companies, oil and gas companies making record profits," Carney said.
"I mean ... I think that's a tough sell. But we'll see," he added.
Meanwhile, in the House, Cantor this week is expected to begin the process of rolling out his small-business tax cut proposal.
Aimed at businesses with fewer than 500 employees, the legislation would provide a temporary tax cut to qualifying small businesses and would not include exemptions for companies like sports franchises.
Cantor's decision to pursue the small-business tax cut bill, which would create a 20 percent tax cut to small businesses regardless of how they file, comes despite Democratic opposition to the measure. Democrats have charged the legislation would be a windfall for sports teams and hedge funds, which qualify under federal rules as small businesses because they have fewer than 500 employees.
"With the economy in recovery, we need to work together to ensure small businesses gain momentum and start hiring again. Leader Cantor's small-business tax cut gives every small business a 20 percent tax cut that will go straight to the bottom line. This tax cut puts money back into the hands of small-business owners so they can invest in their businesses and hire new employees," a spokeswoman for Cantor's office said Monday.