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 GomezDemocrats steamroll toward showdown on House floor Warren, Bush offer bill to give HHS power to impose eviction moratorium Eviction ruling puts new pressure on Congress 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 SandersIn Washington, the road almost never taken Don't let partisan politics impede Texas' economic recovery The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble 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-CortezDon't let partisan politics impede Texas' economic recovery Ocasio-Cortez explains 'present' vote on Iron Dome Dingell fundraises off Greene altercation on Capitol steps MORE (D-N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarHolding back on defensive systems for Israel could have dangerous consequences The Memo: Biden's immigration problems reach crescendo in Del Rio Pentagon 'aware' of reports Wisconsin military base's struggle to feed, heat Afghan refugees MORE (D-Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOcasio-Cortez explains 'present' vote on Iron Dome Holding back on defensive systems for Israel could have dangerous consequences Overnight Defense & National Security — Iron Dome funding clears House 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 TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump 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.