Senate Democrats want surtax on millionaires to fund Obama jobs plan

WASHINGTON — Senate Democratic leaders are proposing a 5 percent surtax on those earning $1 million a year as a new way to pay for President Barack Obama's jobs plan, turning to an issue with populist appeal as they line up support for a vote, possibly next week.

The shift is an acknowledgment that the president does not have support among his Democratic allies for taxing those earning less than $1 million. Obama's proposal had relied on tax increases for households earning more than $200,000, or $250,000 for couples.

"We're going to move to have the richest of the rich pay a little bit more," Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the majority leader, said Wednesday. A vote is expected "within the next few days," Reid said.

Several conservative senators or those up for re-election next year have opposed any new taxes. Others argue that the upper-income tax hikes Obama proposed would snare small business owners.

Polls this fall have repeatedly shown that Americans overwhelmingly support higher taxes on millionaires who make up less than 1 percent of taxpayers, fewer than 500,000 households.

Republicans in the Senate are expected to launch a filibuster to block the bill. They have insisted on no new taxes.

The surtax would hit all forms of income, including capital gains. It would fully cover the $447 billion cost of Obama's jobs proposal.

Solyndra was to get second loan

The Obama administration's Department of Energy was poised in April and May 2010 to give solar equipment manufacturer Solyndra a second taxpayer loan of $469 million, in addition to the first loan of $535 million, even as the company's financial situation was growing dire, according to e-mails just released by a House committee investigating the original loan. The Washington Post reported Wednesday that a DOE spokesman confirmed the agency didn't shelve the idea for a second loan until October 2010, the month Solyndra executives and investors warned the DOE the company faced financial problems. Solyndra sought bankruptcy protection Aug. 31, leaving taxpayers on the hook for the $535 million loan.

Gun sales fallout: Two top supervisors at ATF headquarters in Washington — the deputy director and the assistant director for field operations — were reassigned to lower-level positions at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives amid the fallout from a failed gun-tracking operation along the Southwest border called Fast and Furious, McClatchy Newspapers reported.

Senate Democrats want surtax on millionaires to fund Obama jobs plan 10/05/11 [Last modified: Thursday, October 6, 2011 12:30am]

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