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 call for IRS to review tax-exempt status of NRA Trump says no Post Office funding means Democrats 'can't have universal mail-in voting' Hispanic Caucus asks for Department of Labor meeting on COVID in meatpacking plants 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 SandersButtigieg stands in as Pence for Harris's debate practice Bernie Sanders warns of 'nightmare scenario' if Trump refuses election results Harris joins women's voter mobilization event also featuring Pelosi, Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda 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-CortezHouse passes bill to avert shutdown Trump attacks Omar for criticizing US: 'How did you do where you came from?' The Memo: Dems face balancing act on SCOTUS fight MORE (D-N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOmar fires back at Trump over rally remarks: 'This is my country' Trump attacks Omar for criticizing US: 'How did you do where you came from?' Democrats scramble on COVID-19 relief amid division, Trump surprise MORE (D-Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibTrump attacks Omar for criticizing US: 'How did you do where you came from?' George Conway: 'Trump is like a practical joke that got out of hand' Pelosi endorses Kennedy in Massachusetts Senate primary challenge 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 TrumpOmar fires back at Trump over rally remarks: 'This is my country' Pelosi: Trump hurrying to fill SCOTUS seat so he can repeal ObamaCare Trump mocks Biden appearance, mask use ahead of first debate 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.