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Republicans Block the Buffett Rule

Senate Republicans shot down a move to open debate on a rule supported by President Obama, congressional Democrats and the billionaire investor for whom it’s named that would force the wealthiest Americans to pay a minimum tax rate of 30 percent.

Predictably, Republicans doubled down on their insistence that tax cuts — not increases — are needed to jump-start an economy still lagging from recession, a move that promises a lengthy “debate” on tax issues as the presidential campaign moves into high gear.

Democrats responded by citing a recent Gallup poll that showed 60 percent of Americans supported the proposal. –ARK

The New York Times:

[T]he fierce debate preceding the 51-45 vote — the Democrats were nine votes short of the 60 they needed — set off a week of political wrangling over taxes that both parties insist they are already winning.

Senate Democrats intend to return repeatedly to the legislation, named after the billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who has complained that he pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary. On Thursday, House Republicans will counter with a proposed tax cut for businesses that they say would spur job creation but would cost the Treasury almost exactly what the Democrats’ tax increase would raise.

Republicans say they like that contrast, and their language ahead of the procedural vote on a motion just to take up the Buffett rule was harsh and aimed squarely at Mr. Obama, who first proposed a 30-percent tax rate floor for anyone earning at least $1 million a year last September. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican minority leader, went to the Senate floor and all but called Mr. Obama a liar.

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