Struggling to deliver the big jobs package proposed by President Barack Obama, Senate Democrats are using the issue to force Republican senators to vote on tax increases for millionaires, picking up on a White House theme that the nation’s wealthiest Americans aren’t paying their fair share.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Wednesday he is changing Obama’s jobs package to add a 5 percent tax on income above $1 million, a proposal that is sure to be blocked by Republicans.
The $447 billion package still includes Obama’s proposals to cut payroll taxesand provide money for teachers, firefighters, the unemployed and infrastructure. The tax on millionaires is expected to pay for the package, so it wouldn’t add to the budget deficit.
Democrats are banking on Republicans to oppose both the higher taxes on million-dollar earners and the president’s call for new spending aimed at reducing joblessness, leaving them open to a charge of protecting the wealthy at the expense of the unemployed.
Reid said he plans to bring the bill up for a vote in the Senate next week, though without Republican support, it won’t get the 60 votes needed to advance. Republican leaders said they won’t support tax increases, even on the wealthy, because they would hurt an already weak economy.