Buffet Rule Vote?

At WaPo’s Plum Line, Greg Sargent is reporting that Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is mustering support among his Democratic colleagues for a direct vote on the “Buffet Rule,” the idea that millionaires should not be paying lower tax rates than their employees. Here’s how Greg describes it:

The bill would ensure that taxpayers who make over $1 million would pay at least a 30 percent tax rate on all their income, Whitehouse aides say. It would do this by requiring millionaires to calculate their overall effective tax rate under the regular system — by taking into account all their sources of income and the various rates they are taxed at.

Those taxpayers whose effective rate is under 30 pecent would be required to pay taxes on all their income at the 30 percent rate. (Charitable contributions that are deductible under the current system would be exempt from income calculations.)

The idea is to offer this pointed and very popular measure as part of a series of Senate votes designed to implement major presidential initiatives from the SOTU address. But it would be a separate vote. It would also presumably require a great deal of sustained publicity to make it clear a filibuster is a vote against the substance of the measure.

If they hurry, Senate Democrats could perhaps get this vote scheduled for the day the Beltway Pundits crown Mitt Romney, who would be a direct party of interest in this initiative, the putative GOP nominee.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.