On Wednesday, Rep. Steve Scalise talked up the version of the bill he introduced last week in the House, after the anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist wrote Buffett to say that nothing was stopping the billionaire from contributing more tax dollars to the Treasury.
The Louisiana Republican also dubbed the “Buffett Rule” laid out by the president an attempt at class warfare.
“You can put your money where your mouth is. That’s what this bill does,” Scalise told reporters.
For his part, Norquist continued his scathing critique of Buffett, accusing the investor of “moral preening.”
“It’s like the guy at the bar who pretends, ‘I’d like to beat you up, but all my friends are holding me back.’ And there’s nobody there, holding him back,” Norquist said.
Norquist was also confident that the measure would wind its way through both chambers of Congress.
“Senator Thune should be commended for solving Warren Buffett’s seemingly intractable problem,” said Norquist in a statement. “Thanks to Senator Thune’s leadership, Mr. Buffett soon will be able to simply write a check when he thinks the government can spend his money better than he can.”
But Scalise wasn’t quite as bold, saying only that he believed the bill had a better shot than President Obama’s jobs package – which did not clear a procedural hurdle in the Senate on Tuesday.
Buffett has dismissed the efforts as political posturing unlikely to seriously affect the budget shortfall.
"I would say if you have a country with a deficit of over a trillion dollars and you think it can be solved by voluntary tax payments, you sort of believe in the tooth fairy," said Buffett on Fox Business late last month.
Answering Republican critics who demanded that the billionaire turn over his tax returns, Buffett provided a partial disclosure earlier Wednesday, revealing he made more than $62 million in income last year while paying $15,300 in payroll taxes. His total tax bill came to about $6,923,494, or about 17 percent of his $39,814,784 taxable income.
"I hope you succeed in getting the ultra rich - who as a group, are paying less of their income to the federal government than their receptionists do - to share in the sacrifice many millions of other Americans will soon be asked to," Buffett wrote in a letter accompanying his tax information.