Happy New Year! With a new year comes new challenges and opportunities, and it’s safe to say that there will be no shortage of either in the coming weeks.
As you probably know, shortly before the end of the year, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin declared in a Fox News interview that, after months of negotiations, he could not vote to support President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda in its current form. This is a huge blow to an important bill that we were hoping would be passed in 2021, but the door is still open to pass an important piece of legislation.
Congress is now back in session and Democrats hope to restart Build Back Better negotiations with Manchin, especially as sources say that he is open to reengaging in talks if his demands over the child tax credit are met. He’s expressed an openness to a billionaires income tax and has said that Democrats should focus on rolling back the 2017 Trump tax cuts, so while he’s on the wrong side on many issues, we hope that Democrats can find some common ground on taxing the rich.
Along with the Build Back Better Act, Democrats are also hoping to pass voting rights legislation on the heels of today’s anniversary of the January 6 Capitol riot. Our democracy is in trouble, and without Democrats in Congress taking a stand, even if it means eliminating the filibuster, we may not have another chance to save it.
This week, we’re shining a spotlight on these developments. We hope that Democrats can get members like Senator Manchin on board with voting rights legislation and the Build Back Better Act before it’s too late.
Democrats revisit voting rights legislation around Jan. 6 anniversary by Barbara Sprunt
Senate Democrats are hoping to pass voting rights legislation soon after today’s anniversary of the January 6 Capitol riot. Protecting and strengthening the right to vote is a worthy cause for Democrats, as former President Trump continues to sow disinformation about the 2020 election and, following his lead, GOP state legislatures pass legislation restricting the right to vote. Equally to blame in this mess, however, are the wealthy individuals and corporations who fund the campaigns of Trump and GOP operatives who essentially want to end American democracy. You can’t help but wonder whether these people and organizations are okay with the end of democracy because it would work out better for their bottom lines.
We can’t afford to let Build Back Better fail by Mark Wolfe
Democrats cannot waste the unique political opportunity they have now with simultaneous control of the House, Senate, and White House and fail to pass the Build Back Better Act. As Wolfe says, the Act is a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to address the nation’s growing wealth gap.” Tax initiatives included in the bill, such as the millionaire surtax and the 15% corporate minimum tax, would go a long way in making the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share in taxes.
Billionaires added $1 trillion to their wealth in 2021. Taxing their gains could have funded the child tax credit. by Juliana Kaplan and Madison Hoff
According to a report by our friends at Americans for Tax Fairness, American billionaires saw their collective wealth increase by $1 trillion in 2021. Unfortunately, this wealth will go largely untaxed, as most of it comes in the form of capital gains which are only taxed when assets are sold. If Congress instead taxed gains on an annual basis, as was proposed under Senator Wyden’s Billionaire Income Tax proposal, they would have found themselves with $240 billion in additional revenue this year. Among other things, this would be more than enough to pay for a one-year extension of the now-expired child tax credit. If Joe Manchin is concerned about the cost of the child tax credit in the Build Back Better agenda, then he should look for billionaires to pay for it.
Manchin told White House he would support version of tax on billionaires by Jeff Stein
The good news is that Senator Manchin has apparently told the White House that he would support a version of a tax targeting billionaire wealth as part of the Build Back Better Act. This is an extremely encouraging change from the position that he took back in October regarding Senator Wyden’s Billionaire Income Tax plan. We certainly welcome Manchin’s change of heart and hope that Senate Democrats take advantage of it by including a provision in their version of the Build Back Better Act that targets billionaire wealth.