Sanders, top Dems urge repeal of 'Cadillac' tax

Sanders, top Dems urge repeal of 'Cadillac' tax
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Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Dems fear lasting damage from Clinton-Sanders fight MORE (I-Vt.) and seven Democratic senators introduced a bill Thursday to repeal ObamaCare’s so-called “Cadillac” tax on high-cost healthcare plans.

The bill’s Democratic cosponsors include heavyweights such as Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is in line to become the chamber’s top Democrat, as well as Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chamber’s longest-serving member. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who leads the Senate’s ACA Works campaign, has also signed on.

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The Democratic presidential candidate’s newest bill gives momentum to a years-long lobbying campaign by both business leaders and union groups. The Democrats' repeal push puts them in direct odds with President Obama, who has refused to budge on the much-maligned tax.

The move also puts pressure on Sanders' presidential rival Hillary Clinton to declare her position on the tax. She has previously said she is “examining” the provision but did not make any mention of the tax during a series of speeches this week focused on her healthcare platform.

The Cadillac tax will likely surface in next year's Senate races as well: Four of the co-sponsors — Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Michael Bennet (D-Col.), Leahy and Schumer — are up for reelection in 2016.

Obama administration officials have dismissed talk of repeal because they say none of the bills — including one introduced by Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) — have proposed a replacement for the estimated $87 billion in revenue from the tax.

Sanders said his bill would “strike the excise tax while demanding that repeal be paid for." He proposed generating the revenue through “a surtax on the wealthiest people in this country,” which had been included in the House version of the Affordable Care Act.

The tax does not go into effect until 2018. Experts say people living in areas with higher costs of living, particularly cities along both coastlines, will be hit hardest by the tax.

Under the rule, families whose benefits exceed $27,500 and individuals whose benefits exceed $10,200 will have to pay the tax.

The Vermont senator has been a long-time foe of the Cadillac tax, which is also strongly opposed by union groups. He first introduced legislation to repeal the provision in 2009, when he said the plans affected by the tax “are more like Chevrolets” than Cadillacs.