WASHINGTON, March 7 - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said today that Congress must balance spending cuts with additional revenue to reduce deficits.
"It would be morally wrong for the United States to balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable people in our society while asking nothing from the wealthiest," Sanders said.
A member of the Senate Budget Committee, Sanders proposed a millionaires' surtax. He also called for eliminating tax breaks for Big Oil.
A 5.4 percent surtax on adjusted gross incomes over $1 million would raise as much as $50 billion a year. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll published last week showed overwhelming support for that concept.
Ending tax breaks for oil and gas companies could raise another $3.5 billion a year.
Senate leadership already agreed to cut spending by $41 billion. The president last week signed into law a short-term continuing resolution that cut an additional $4 billion. Senate negotiators have offered additional $6.5 billion in cuts. That's more than half of the $100 billion House Republicans have called for in terms of deficit reduction. The rest, Sanders said, must come from additional revenue.
"In the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, America's middle class and working families have already paid a very heavy price in terms of lost jobs, lost homes, lost wages, and lost opportunity," Sanders said.
"The time has come to ask the wealthiest in our society and the most profitable corporations in America to help our nation address its deficit crisis," he concluded.