Democrats seek corporate tax hikes

Monday, September 13, 2021
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House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., left, listens as Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the ranking member, makes an opening statement during a markup session at the Capitol in Washington, Monday. AP PHOTO

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats unveiled a sweeping proposal Monday for tax hikes on big corporations and the wealthy to fund President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion rebuilding plan, as Congress speeds ahead to shape the far-reaching package that touches almost all aspects of domestic life.

The proposed top tax rate would revert to 39.6% on couples earning more than $400,000, and there would be a 3% tax on wealthier Americans making beyond $5 million a year. For big businesses, the proposal would lift the 21% corporate tax rate to 26.5% on incomes beyond $5 million.

In all, the tax hikes are in line with Biden’s own proposals and would bring about the most substantive changes in the tax code since Republicans with then-President Donald Trump slashed taxes in 2017. Business and anti-tax groups are sure to object. But Democrats are pressing forward.

Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., the chairman of the tax-writing Ways & Means Committee, said taken together, the proposals would “expand opportunity for the American people and support our efforts to build a healthier, more prosperous future.”

It’s a daunting moment for Biden and his allies in Congress as they assemble the massive package that is destined to become one of the largest singles measures considered in some time, if ever. The president’s “build back” agenda includes spending on child care, health care, education and strategies to confront climate change. It is a sweeping undertaking, on part with the Great Society or New Deal.

One Democratic senator vital to the bill’s fate says the cost will need to be slashed to $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion to win his support.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., also cautioned there was “no way” Congress will meet the late September goal from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for passage given his current wide differences with liberal Democrats on how much to spend and how to pay for it.

“I cannot support $3.5 trillion,” Manchin said Sunday, citing in particular his opposition to a proposed increase in the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% and vast new social spending. “We should be looking at everything, and we’re not. We don’t have the need to rush into this and get it done within one week because there’s some deadline we’re meeting, or someone’s going to fall through the cracks.”

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