Reporting Tim Kephart
Legislative Session Coverage
WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – The “Buffett Rule,” which has split Florida’s U.S. Senate delegation, will likely come to a vote this week as Republicans and Democrats begin posturing for November’s general election.
The proposed rule, named after billionaire Warren Buffett, would mandate that no one who makes more than $1 million a year should pay a lower effective tax rate than an average, middle-class American.
The genesis of the bill came after Buffett revealed that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary thanks to various loopholes and tax breaks afforded to the wealthy. Republicans countered saying if he wanted to pay more than he could, but that not all millionaires and billionaires wanted to pay more.
The basics of the bill would require people making over $1 million a year to pay 30 percent of their income to the federal government if various benefits drop them below that rate per year. That would still be a historically low level as during the 1950’s the wealthiest paid up to 75-85 percent rates.
During the boom years of President Bill Clinton’s administration, the wealthiest Americans paid 39.6 percent and the economy soared.
Republicans will filibuster the bill in the Senate, thereby preventing it from even getting an up or down vote. Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio is opposed to the bill, while Democratic Senator Bill Nelson is in favor of the Buffett Rule.
If a Republican were to vote in favor of the rule, it is said it would violate the vigorous anti-tax pledge from Grover Nordquist that nearly every Republican signed. The pledge essentially forbids anyone who signs it from voting for a tax increase of any kind.
Democrats, and some Republicans, have criticized the pledge as being one of the main components of the current dysfunction on Capitol Hill.