Billionaires tax proposal could be dead on arrival amid Dem infighting

The billionaires tax was one of several proposals under consideration to help offset the costs of Biden’s spending bill

House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal indicated Wednesday that a tax proposal targeting billionaires’ unrealized investment gains will be dropped from consideration in President Biden’s spending bill, an assertion that was immediately rejected by the Senate Democrat who introduced the concept.

Introduced earlier Wednesday by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the proposal would implement an annual tax on people with at least $1 billion in assets or $100 million in income for three consecutive years. The tax would apply to roughly 700 individuals.

Neal noted reports that Sen. Joe Manchin is opposed to the proposal and decried that other lawmakers have yet to review the plan in detail.


U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) speaks to reporters as House Democrats hold a news conference ahead of the final House passage of the Biden administration's $1.9 trillion coronavirus disease (COVID-19) relief bill on (Reuters Photos)

"I've pointed out that the billionaire's tax had not been vetted by our committee," Neal said. "In fact, it had not been vetted by any committee. And that it will be very difficult because of its complexity. None of us in the Democratic Caucus in the House have any problem with asking billionaires for more money. That's fine. But this happened all of a sudden."

Neal said lawmakers were still considering other tax proposals aimed at paying for Biden’s agenda, including a surtax on millionaires. But Wyden pushed back, telling reporters it was "absolutely not" dropped from negotiations and that lawmakers were "continuing to work with members" on a resolution.

"I'm not saying that it's dead. I just put out the text of it," Wyden said. "There's a briefing for staff tonight. I'm talking to Senators. And nobody has said the status quo is ok."

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 12: Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) questions Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin as he testifies in front of the Senate Finance Committee during a hearing on "The President's FY2021 Budget," in the Dirksen Senate Office Build (Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images / Getty Images)

The billionaire tax was one of several proposals under consideration to help offset the costs of Biden’s spending bill. Moderate Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema has opposed calls to alter the corporate tax rate.


Proponents say the billionaire tax will ensure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share in taxes, while critics argue the plan would be divisive and too complicated to implement.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., speaks to the Economic Club, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (AP Newsroom)

Earlier in the day, Manchin referred Wyden’s proposal as "very convoluted" and indicated he was wary of including it in the spending bill.

"I don’t like it. I don’t like the connotation that we’re targeting different people," Manchin said.