Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and other key Democrats called out the party for pushing to include a tax cut that mostly benefits the wealthy in President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better package, Politico reports.
Democrats vowed to fund climate programs and family aid by rolling back Trump’s tax cut on corporations and top earners but instead one of the few measures in the Trump tax law the party will actually roll back is a cap on the State and Local Tax Deduction. Republicans capped the deduction at $10,000 per year, which mostly hits high earners in high-tax states. Democrats from states like New York, California, and New Jersey have been pushing to repeal the cap ever since, calling it punitive.
Democrats are unlikely to repeal the cap entirely but they are looking at multiple plans that would raise the cap for certain earners or up to a certain level.
The House is pushing a plan that will temporarily raise the cap to $80,000 per year while the Senate is looking at a plan to repeal the cap for people earning up to $550,000. Either plan will cost about a quarter-trillion-dollars, making it the second most expensive part of Biden’s plan.
Bernie calls out hypocrisy:
“You can’t be a political party that talks about demanding the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes and then end up with a bill that gives large tax breaks to many millionaires,” Sanders told Politico. “You can’t do that. The hypocrisy is too strong. It’s bad policy, it’s bad politics.”
“I’m not worried about the perception that we’re doing too much for wealthy people. I’m worried that we may do too much for wealthy people. It’s the reality that troubles me,” added Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. “I’m not here to help those at the top.”
But it’s not just progressives. Moderates are crying foul too.
Montana Sen. Jon Tester told the outlet he would “just as soon have it out. Not a big fan because I think it gives tax breaks to the wrong people: Rich people.”
Maine Democrat Jared Goldman said the SALT plan looks like “Republicans were in charge.”
“The fact that more people and orgs on the Democratic side aren’t up in arms about this is wild,” he said.
Some Dems defend:
Democrats like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and others in states like New York, New Jersey, and California are pushing for the rollback.
“Its intent was to penalize blue states — I’m not going to let them get away with that,” New York Rep. Gregory Meeks told Politico. “I look at my homeowners in my district and how they’ve been devastated as a result of a $10,000 SALT cap, it hurts them in a very big way.”
But Democrats worry about the optics of showering billions on the wealthy.
“In the last few days you have seen Republicans saying that Democrats are being softer on millionaires than they were in 2017,” said Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden. “They’re not saying it, you know, once. They are pounding that message.”
Rick Scott, the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said the Democratic plan was “foolish.”
“If you look at the amount of money they are going to give to rich people, it’s staggering,” he said. “I’m going to make sure that in all of our states that everybody knows what [Democrats] are doing.”