Washington D.C. – Democrats have cleared the way for income tax increases to be pushed through Congress by eliminating a rule requiring tax increases to win a three-fifths supermajority in order to pass.
The rule had been a flash-point for some new liberal members of Congress and their non-profit support groups, such as MoveOn.org, who saw the rule as a major obstacle stopping them from being able to raise taxes to a level that would allow them to create government programs they promised on the campaign trail.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi ( D – California ) had been considering leaving the rule in place for the bottom 80% of American taxpayers which effectively would have allowed her to say that she was still protecting middle-class Americans from tax hikes, but that idea was strongly opposed by incoming members such as Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D – New York).
Rep. Pelosi and Rep. Jim McGovern ( D – Mass. ) relented this week, telling colleagues they would not honor the rule, meaning that Congress could now raise taxes on the middle class without the three-fifths majority that outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan had required.
Ocasio-Cortez, who opposed the three-fifths rule even to protect middle-class taxpayers, is currently seeking support for a massive “green new deal” initiative. Other Democrat members of Congress who rode to victory in the election on promises of massive new spending, such as universal health care and free college tuition, all of which would require middle-class tax increases, also wanted to eliminate the protection for middle-class Americans.
Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, blasted Democrats for the rule change:
Rep. Chellie Pingree ( D-Maine ) has supported many of the new spending proposals that would likely require middle-class tax increases, including recently signing on to support Ocasio-Cortez’s “green new deal” blueprint. Pingree had previously spoken in support of Medicare for All, which analysts at the Mercatus Center at George Washington University estimated would cost $32 trillion over ten years.
Jared Golden, who is in a legal battle over the the results of Maine’s other Congressional election, also supported the $32 trillion Medicare for All plan, despite warnings that it would require massive tax increases.