Senate Dems drop surtax on millionaires from draft budget

Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee are no longer looking at a surtax on millionaires as a way to bring down budget deficits, Senate sources said Friday.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) had floated the idea of a 3 percent surtax on millionaires as a way to win the support of committee member Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Conrad can't move a budget through the committee without Sanders' support due to its narrow split between 12 Democrats and 11 Republicans.

Sources said the draft budget still contains a 50-50 split of revenue to spending cuts and interest rate payment cuts.

ADVERTISEMENT
Sanders “could live with” and be “comfortable” with a package that does not include a millionaires’ surtax so long as half of any deficit-reduction package is attributable to new revenue, Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs said Friday. The revenue can come from such sources as closing corporate tax loopholes and eliminating offshore tax havens, he said.

Conrad decided last month to hold off on marking up a budget in committee pending deficit talks with Vice President Biden. Committee Democrats met again this week to try to come to a consensus on a budget, but some Democrats have said in the past they want to see more spending cuts than tax increases.

If the Biden talks produce an agreement, the budget process could be used to fast-track legislation implementing it through the Senate.

Senate Republicans, led by Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), have hammered Democrats for not producing an alternative budget to the one passed by the House.