GOP lawmaker for closing tax loopholes favoring 'ultra-wealthy'

Republicans have been near universal in their criticism of Warren Buffett’s New York Times editorial last week that encouraged lawmakers to close tax loopholes for the mega-rich, a theme that the president and congressional Democrats have been promoting as the supercommittee budget talks approach. But at least one GOP lawmaker might not be toeing the party line.

At a town hall meeting in West Point, Neb. on Tuesday, Rep. Jeff FortenberryJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FortenberryWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way House Democrats urge Trump to end deportations of Iraqis after diabetic man's death House Appropriations passes defense bill that would limit funds for border wall, pull US support from Yemen war MORE (R-Neb.) was asked if he had heard about Buffett’s editorial.

“Yes, and I don’t necessarily disagree with him, either,” Fortenberry said.

The congressman later told USA Today that while he wanted to make sure that taxes were not raised on small businesses and entrepreneurs, he agreed with Buffett that tax loopholes “skew in favor of the ultra-wealthy, ultra-wealthy corporations and the overseas aristocracy.”

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Buffett’s editorial argued that millionaires and billionaires should be willing to embrace a higher federal income tax rate and remove rules that allow earnings to be claimed as capital gains rather than income.

“My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice,” he said.

Fortenberry’s comments contrast with most Republicans, who have argued that the loopholes are important to encourage economic growth.

"If Warren Buffett wants to pay more taxes and send more of his money to Washington, why doesn't he just do it?" Eric Dayspring, a press aide for House Majority Leader Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorThe Democrats' strategy conundrum: a 'movement' or a coalition? The biggest political upsets of the decade Bottom Line MORE (R-Va.), tweeted.

Fortenberry did not offer specific loopholes he would like to see cut, but Republican Rep. Tom PetriThomas (Tom) Evert PetriKeep our elections free and fair Break the cycle of partisanship with infant, child health care programs Combine healthcare and tax reform to bring out the best in both MORE (Wis.) floated the possibility of closing a very specific exemption for hedge fund managers at a town hall earlier this week. Still, many Republicans feel bound by pledges not to budge on tax increases.

“Look, I know there are some who say, 'Let’s just tax the rich.' … [But] if we raise taxes on wealthy people, that means businesses see their taxes go up. I don’t want to raise taxes on employers,”  Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said on Monday.