by Max Brantley
Needing 60 votes to stop a filibuster, the Obama administration could only muster 51 and thus failed on the Buffett rule to put a higher tax on millionaires — 30 percent minimum on those making that amount in taxable income, which means a good deal more income for most after deductions and adjustments.
Obama blamed the Republican Party for looking out for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.
He didn't mention the one Democrat who joined the Republicans — Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas.
Pryor said in a statement he opposed the so-called Buffett rule, after the billionaire who supports a tax increase because his effective tax rate — mostly on unearned income — is higher than that of his secretary and other people whose income comes primarily from wages. Said Pryor:
There is no disputing that the wealthy should pay their fair share in taxes. This inequity should be fixed as part of broad tax reform, not as a political ploy meant to score points. A serious, bipartisan effort to reform the tax code could pass Congress and be signed into law, ensuring that employees no longer write larger checks to Uncle Sam than their CEOs.
Tonight, Senate Republicans voted to block the Buffett Rule, choosing once again to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest few Americans at the expense of the middle class.
The Buffett Rule is common sense. At a time when we have significant deficits to close and serious investments to make to strengthen our economy, we simply cannot afford to keep spending money on tax cuts that the wealthiest Americans don’t need and didn’t ask for. But it’s also about basic fairness – it’s just plain wrong that millions of middle-class Americans pay a higher share of their income in taxes than some millionaires and billionaires. America prospers when we’re all in it together and everyone has the opportunity to succeed.
One of the fundamental challenges of our time is building an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules. And I will continue to push Congress to take steps to not only restore economic security for the middle class and those trying to reach the middle class, but also to create an economy that’s built to last.