House GOP proposes its own ‘Buffett’ tax rule

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and eight other House Republicans on Wednesday moved to counteract President Obama’s campaign to raise taxes on the rich by offering legislation that would make it easier for wealthy taxpayers to donate as much of their money to the government as they wish.

Scalise introduced the “Buffett Rule Act,” H.R. 3099, which would require the IRS to create a new line on people’s tax forms to let rich taxpayers pay extra to help pay down the debt.

{mosads}The bill bears the name of famed billionaire investor Warren Buffett; the Obama administration has repeatedly used Buffett’s argument that he pays a smaller percentage of his earnings in taxes than his secretary. Scalise responded to Obama in September by saying wealthy Americans like Buffett don’t need to be taxed more, and can simply write the government a check.

“If Warren Buffet truly feels that he’s not paying enough in taxes, he doesn’t need a change in law to put his money where his mouth is, he can send his check for a larger amount to the treasury today,” Scalise said.

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) wrote to Scalise in support of his proposal, and said letting rich Americans donate money is a better approach than imposing higher taxes.

“Mr. Buffett should be able to voluntarily pay extra income taxes if he feels the need to — without imposing broad, job-killing tax hikes on our nation’s small employers,” ATR wrote.

The letter added that there are still questions about whether Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary, in part because Buffett has so far refused to release his tax return.

Scalise’s bill is similar to one proposed earlier this year by Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.). Campbell’s “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is” Act would also create a space on people’s tax forms that allow for donations above the amount of taxes due.

Campbell said his bill was in response to comments from Buffett, Barbra Streisand and others who have said they should be taxed at a higher rate.

Campbell is a co-sponsor of Scalise’s bill, along with Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Bill Flores (R-Texas), Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), Andy Harris (R-Md.), Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) and Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.).

Tags Bill Flores Marsha Blackburn Mo Brooks Phil Gingrey

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