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 SandersBernie SandersSanders on Trump pick: This is how a rigged economy works Trump picks Goldman Sachs chief for top economic adviser: report Sanders congratulates Carrier union leader after Trump attack MORE (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.

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 SessionsJeff Sessions House passes water bill with Flint aid, drought relief Liberal Dems: Trump filling Cabinet with 'stooges' Poll: Most say Trump will change DC MORE (R-Ala.), have hammered Democrats for not producing an alternative budget to the one passed by the House.