Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for pushing a huge tax break for the richest 1% as part of the Democrats’ Build Back Better legislation.
“It’s bad politics, it’s bad policy,” Sanders warned at the Capitol Thursday.
“The Democrats correctly have campaigned on the understanding that amidst massive income and wealth inequality, we’ve got to demand the wealthy start paying their fair share, not give them more tax breaks,” he continued.
“Bottom line: We have to help the middle class, not the 1%.”
Sanders also complained in a tweet that the “hypocrisy is too strong” for Democrats to give the wealthy another undeserved tax break.
At issue is Pelosi’s support for a House plan to lift the amount of state and local taxes that can be deducted from federal tax bills to $80,000 (through 2030). The current $10,000 cap created under Donald Trump’s 2017 tax law was designed to squeeze residents in high-tax blue states to pay for massive cuts in corporate taxes.
Pelosi vowed Thursday to fight for the elevated cap.
“This isn’t about who gets a tax cut; it’s about which states get the revenue they need in order to meet the needs of the people,” she said.
The plan would overwhelmingly benefit wealthy Americans and do much less for the middle class. About 94% of the state and local tax benefits in the House’s $80,000 cap proposal would go to the top 20% of earners — or those earning about $175,000 or more, according to an analysis by the Urban Brookings Tax Policy Center.
The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated that a family of four in Washington making $1 million per year would get 10 times as much tax relief from the proposed deduction as a middle-class family would get from the extra child tax credit in the same package.
Sanders and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) have proposed keeping the $10,000 limit — but with an exemption for households earning less than $400,000.
But the Tax Policy Center said the Sanders and Menendez plan also favors the richest fifth of U.S. households and “would be only a modest improvement over the House’s $80,000 SALT cap.”
Other Democrats are also upset about raising the cap.
“If you’d told me a year ago that the second-biggest piece of a signature bill of this Congress was *$280 billion in tax giveaways to millionaires,* I’d have told you the Republicans were in charge,” Sen. Jared Golden (D-Maine) tweeted.
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) told NBC News that the change “gives tax breaks to the wrong people.”
The House vote on the Build Back Better bill was delayed until Friday because of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s marathon diatribe against it.