By Jamie Klatell - 03/31/12 10:59 AM EDT
President Obama urged lawmakers to "make this country a little fairer" and pass legislation that would raise taxes on those making more than $1 million annually.
"Congress is going to vote on what’s called the 'Buffett Rule': If you make more than $1 million a year, you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle class families do," Obama said in his weekly address. "On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year – like 98 percent of American families do – your taxes shouldn’t go up."
The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) said, in an estimate provided by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse's office, that the measure would raise close to $47 billion between 2012 and 2022.
That projection revised an earlier estimate circulated by Sen. Orrin Hatch's (R-Utah) office that said the "Buffett Rule" legislation, known as the Paying a Fair Share Act and introduced by Whitehouse (D-R.I.), would bring in roughly $31 billion over that time span.
The Senate plans to vote on the Buffett Rule on April 16.
"So every Member of Congress is going to go on record," Obama said. "And if they vote to keep giving tax breaks to people like me — tax breaks our country can’t afford — then they’re going to have to explain to you where that money comes from."
Republicans have slammed the "Buffett Rule" as class warfare. GOP lawmakers last year unveiled their own version of the rule, which would make it easier for anyone who wants to voluntarily pay more in taxes.
The president tried to rebut the accusations of class warfare in his address.
"I think asking a billionaire to pay at least the same tax rate as his secretary is just common sense," Obama said. "We don’t envy success in this country. We aspire to it. But we also believe that anyone who does well for themselves should do their fair share in return, so that more people have the opportunity to get ahead — not just a few."