House Democrats offer bill to expand the estate tax

House Democrats offer bill to expand the estate tax
© Greg Nash

Dozens of House Democrats have introduced legislation to expand the estate tax, as progressives make a push to substantially increase taxes on wealthy individuals.

Rep. Jimmy GomezJimmy GomezFormer undocumented workers fired from Trump properties attend Biden campaign event House Democrats offer bill to expand the estate tax House Democrats blur lines on support for impeachment MORE (D-Calif.), the lead sponsor of the bill and a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, cast the measure as a way to address inequality in the country.

"Through my legislation – the For the 99.8% Act – we can take a progressive step forward in addressing our country’s rapidly increasing wealth inequality by strengthening the estate tax and ensuring the wealthiest among us pay their fair share," he said in a press release on Friday.

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Gomez's measure is identical to a bill Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden alleges Sanders campaign 'doctored video' to attack him on Social Security record Sanders campaign responds to Biden doctored video claims: Biden should 'stop trying to doctor' public record The Memo: Sanders-Warren battle could reshape Democratic primary MORE (I-Vt.) introduced in the Senate earlier this year, according to a spokesman for the congressman.

The House bill has more than three dozen co-sponsors — including prominent progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezAyanna Pressley's 'squad' of congresswomen offers support after she opens up about alopecia Here are the 10 senators who voted against Trump's North American trade deal Artist paints Michelle Obama, other women as battered in campaign against domestic violence MORE (D-N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarAyanna Pressley's 'squad' of congresswomen offers support after she opens up about alopecia With surge in anti-Semitism, political leaders need to be aggressive and reflective in response Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair endorses Sanders MORE (D-Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibHillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Michigan governor urges Zuckerberg to enforce community guidelines after hate speech, threats surface Ayanna Pressley's 'squad' of congresswomen offers support after she opens up about alopecia MORE (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Presssley (D-Mass.). It also has the backing of a number of labor unions and progressive groups.

Under current law, individuals can leave up to $11.4 million to heirs through their estates before the money is taxed. Amounts above that level are taxed at 40 percent.

Under the Democrats' bill, assets between $3.5 million and $10 million would be taxed at a progressive rate structure starting at 45 percent, while the value of estates greater than $1 billion would be taxed at a rate of 77 percent.

The bill is also designed to prevent wealthy people from being able to use certain strategies to avoid paying estate taxes.

The bill's introduction comes as many Democratic lawmakers and presidential candidates have been floating various ways to increase taxes on the rich in order to reduce wealth inequality and raise revenue to finance spending priorities. Several of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have said they want to expand the estate tax.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' MORE's 2017 tax-cut law significantly increased the amount of money exempt from the estate tax. Many Republicans want to completely eliminate the tax.