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Senate rejects ‘Buffett Rule’

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By Doug Powers  •  April 16, 2012 08:06 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

When I heard the Senate was taking up the “Buffett Rule” today, I originally prepared two headlines to cover each possible outcome: 1) “Senate rejects Buffett Rule; Deficit to remain insurmountably high,” or 2) “Senate passes Buffett Rule: Deficit to remain insurmountably high.”

From Josh Barro at Forbes:

Just moments ago, the so-called Buffett Rule (imposing a minimum 30 percent federal income tax rate on those making at least $2 million per year) came up for a vote in the Senate and was defeated. There were 51 votes in favor and 45 opposed, but 60 votes were required for cloture and so the proposal could not proceed.

The vote was nearly along party lines, with Susan Collins (Maine) the only Republican to vote yes and Mark Pryor (Arkansas) the only Democrat to vote no. Joe Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, also broke with his party and opposed the proposal, though he wasn’t in Washington D.C. today and so didn’t actually cast a vote. Lieberman said “I am opposed to the Buffett Rule because it would double to 30 percent the capital gains tax on one group of investors”—a statement that reflects the fact that the Buffett Rule debate is fundamentally a debate about whether we should have a preferential tax rate for capital gains.

Worry not, Patriotic Millionaires, you still have time to fill out form 1040-B to pay your “fair share” and hit the pillow tonight with a clear conscience.

President Obama will keep hammering on the Buffett Rule. This is one reason, and this is another.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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