BURLINGON, Vt., March 6 -- As the U.S. Senate heads for votes this week on competing spending plans for the rest of the year, Sen. Bernie Sanders said Congress also must raise additional revenue to reduce deficits. He proposed a surtax on millionaires and eliminating tax breaks for Big Oil.
While there is widespread agreement on the need to reduce the $14 national debt and $1.6 trillion deficit, Sanders (I-Vt.) said "this must include not only budget cuts, but raising revenue in a fair and economically just way."
Sanders, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, also said, "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 suggested an emergency surtax on millionaires. 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.
Sanders also would end tax breaks for big oil and gas companies . Over the past decade, the five largest oil companies in the U.S. earned nearly $1 trillion in profits. Meanwhile, in recent years, some of the largest oil companies in this country paid nothing in federal income taxes . Ending those tax breaks could raise at least $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.
"Unfortunately, until now, virtually the entire debate in Washington has focused only on cutting federal programs," Sanders said. "Many of the cuts being proposed will have a devastating impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our nation - including seniors, children, the sick and the poor."
Contact: Michael Briggs (202) 228-6492