Biden’s budget plan targets billionaires’ club

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However, it’s unclear how much support a billionaire tax might garner, even among Democrats. With a unified opposition expected from Republicans, Biden would need all 50 Senate Democrats on board to pass any legislation using the reconciliation procedure. Wyden offered his tax as a revenue source for the Build Back Better Act, Biden’s massive public spending bill that was torpedoed by moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, largely due to Manchin’s concerns about the price of the bill. Manchin appeared to reject the idea of ​​a billionaire tax in the fall, calling him a “divider”. However, The Washington Post reported in December that Manchin told the White House he would be open to some version of a tax on the wealthiest Americans. Other Democrats also had reservations about Wyden’s plan, including Richard Neal, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and, it seems, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Plus a billionaire tax likely facing legal challenges, because one wonders whether a tax imposed on wealth – as opposed to income – is constitutional. The White House argues that the tax is an income tax, which means it is constitutional under the 16th Amendment. But a Supreme Court with a strong conservative majority might disagree with that assessment.

Sanders announced that the budget committee will hold a hearing on the president’s wishlist — ahem, the budget proposal — on Wednesday. Whether the billionaire tax, or any other element of the presidential budget, will make it onto the legislative agenda remains to be seen.

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