Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) wants to hold a vote on President Barack Obama’s proposal for a “Buffett Rule” ensuring that billionaires such as Warren Buffett don’t pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than their secretaries.
“Let’s draft the language, let’s get it scored, put it on the floor and have a vote,” Schumer said a news conference today. Schumer made his comments shortly after Obama gave a Rose Garden speech outlining a $4.4 trillion deficit reduction plan that includes a proposal for higher taxes on the wealthy.
Schumer called the concept a potential “game-changer” for Democrats, who have always struggled to win battles with the GOP on taxes.
He predicted “just about every Democrat” would back the idea. It’s not clear exactly how much tax revenue such a proposal would generate, but it would likely be substantial.
Schumer also questioned Republican criticism of Obama’s plan as “class warfare.” Schumer said Democrats should be warring for the middle class. “There’s one class that’s really suffering, and that’s the middle class,” he said.
Schumer said the coming debate would either force the GOP to compromise or “lay naked their true aim” of defending the wealthy.
He acknowledged the “slim” chances of the Buffett Rule passing now, but he said that could change with Obama taking his plan on the road.
Schumer also cheered Obama’s veto threat of any bill cutting Medicare benefits without asking the wealthy and corporations to contribute. Democrats had worried that the super committee tasked with cutting the deficit would do that, Schumer said.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.