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Senate Democrats Pitch 5 Percent Surtax On Millionaires

<p>Left to right: Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) at a news conference on Capitol Hill today.</p>
Alex Wong
Getty Images

Left to right: Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) at a news conference on Capitol Hill today.

Making the case that some of the tax increases that would partly pay for President Obama's $447 billion jobs bill are aimed at Americans who are not that rich, the Senate's Democratic leaders are proposing a 5 percent tax on annual incomes above $1 million instead.

According to The Associated Press:

"Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), said there was opposition to Obama's plan because people making $250,000 or $300,000 in high cost areas, like New York, don't consider themselves rich. 'Drawing the line at a million dollars is the right thing to do,' Schumer said. 'In the eyes of many, it is hard to ask more of household that make $250,000 or $300,000 a year. They are not rich and in large parts of country, that kind of income does not get you a big home or lots of vacations or anything else that's associated with wealth in America.' "

The liberal Talking Points Memo says Schumer has adopted the GOP argumengt against the Obama tax plan. The Republican National Committee thinks the Senate Democrats' idea is "more trouble for Obama's White House."

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) notes in a statement that "two-thirds of people making more than $1 million a year [have] said they would gladly contribute more. ... So when Democrats bring this common-sense jobs legislation to the floor, we will also ask Americans who make more than $1 million a year to contribute a little more to help this country reduce its jobs deficit."

The Democratic leaders say their surcharge would cover the costs of Obama's jobs bill over the next decade, the AP adds. But, as the wire service also reports, "Reid ... wouldn't predict whether Democratic senators would unite behind the measure, which is unlikely to get any support from Republicans."

There are currently 51 Democrats in the Senate, two independents who caucus with the Demcrats and 47 Republicans.

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