WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today offered an amendment to let Bush-era tax breaks for the top 2 percent expire at the end of the year.
His amendment also would have provided $250 payments to some 58 million Social Security recipients facing a second straight year without a cost-of-living adjustment. Unless Congress acts, senior citizens will be going without a cost of living increase for a second year in a row at a time when the prices they pay for prescription drug and health care are soaring.
The amendment also would have replaced changes in payroll taxes with a one year extension of the Make Work Pay Credit, which would provide more tax relief to those who need it most while not threatening the solvency of the Social Security trust fund.
Sanders’ amendment also would have returned estate taxes to rates in effect in 2009. Instead of a White House proposal that would exempt all but the super-rich, Sanders proposal would have set a 45 percent tax rate on the value of estates above $3.5 million.
“We made an impressive showing for a stronger and fairer proposal that would create more jobs, lower the debt, and do more for Social Security than the deal brokered by the White House and congressional Republicans,” Sanders said. “The fact that we got 43 votes in opposing the president and Republican leadership indicates great discontent with the course we are embarking on.”
After the vote on his amendment, Sanders was among 19 senators who voted “no” on the $858 billion tax deal agreed to by President Obama and Republicans in Congress. Sanders made it clear that he supported elements of the bill to continue tax cuts for the middle class and extend unemployment benefits.