Updated: 8:40 p.m.House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) said Friday afternoon that the Houses health care bill would be unveiled Monday and would include a $540 billion tax increase on couples making more than $350,000 a year.The tax increase, which would take effect in 2011, would hit the wealthiest Americans, Rangel said. Rates would become progressively higher, with those making at least $500,000 paying one rate and those bringing in $1 million or more paying the highest rate. He said the surtax would be a very small percentage 1, 2, 3, something like that, but did not disclose the precise numbers.Rangel rejected a proposal pushed by House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) to include a trigger that would condition the tax increase on future costs of the health plan. Clyburn has proposed a plan in which tax increases would only go into effect if savings from prevention and other measures did not result from the health care overhaul. Rangel said they also decided against a series of smaller revenue raisers in favor of a more simplified surtax.Rangel said he had discussions with the Blue Dog Democrats on regional disparities and other issues, and sought to make changes in keeping with the overall goals of President Barack Obama. Rangel said he tried to show them the depth of changes that Democrats were already making to reform the health care system to improve quality.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.