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Bernie Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks during a pen and pad news conference on Capitol Hill on October 8, 2021. (Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

'Beyond Unacceptable': Sanders Slams Proposed 'Tax Break for Billionaires' in Reconciliation Bill

"At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, the last thing we should be doing is giving more tax breaks to the very rich."

Brett Wilkins

U.S. Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders on Tuesday called reports that congressional Democrats are considering lifting the cap on the state and local tax deduction—a move that would largely benefit wealthy individuals—"beyond unacceptable," while imploring his party to find a way to protect middle-class workers without furnishing "tax breaks for billionaires."

"Democrats campaigned and won on an agenda that demands that the very wealthy finally pay their fair share, not one that gives them more tax breaks."

"Democrats campaigned and won on an agenda that demands that the very wealthy finally pay their fair share, not one that gives them more tax breaks," Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a statement opposing the proposal. "I am open to a compromise approach which protects the middle class in high-tax states."

"I will not support more tax breaks for billionaires," he added.

The state and local tax (SALT) deduction was capped at $10,000 under Trump-era GOP legislation as a means of funding tax cuts that mostly benefited the wealthy and corporations. According to reports, Democratic lawmakers are exploring a repeal of the $10,000 limit as part of their pared-down budget reconciliation package, a move favored by many Republicans, as well as right-wing Democrats from high-tax states.

While Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) hailed the prospect of a SALT cap repeal as "a huge win," Sanders (I-Vt.) blasted it as "beyond unacceptable."

"At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, the last thing we should be doing is giving more tax breaks to the very rich," the democratic socialist said.

Harvard economics professor James Furman estimates that "a majority of Americans with a net worth of $50 to $300 million would get a tax cut under the Build Back Better plan with a full repeal of SALT."

"The bill would do more for the superrich than it does for climate change, child care, or preschool," added Furman. "That's obscene."

Earlier on Tuesday, an exasperated Sanders expressed his disappointment and anger at Democratic colleagues for cutting key provisions including Medicare expansion, paid family leave, and free community college from the Build Back Better package, asking, "So, we drop what's most popular?"


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