Ocasio-Cortez sparks debate with talk of 70 percent marginal rate

TheHill | 1/12/2019 | Naomi Jagoda and Juliegrace Brufke
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House Democrats are treading carefully when it comes to talk of a 70 percent marginal tax rate on income above $10 million, an idea floated by freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in a recent “60 Minutes” interview.

Many Democrats are supportive of the freshman phenom’s call for higher taxes on the rich, but even some progressives are stopping short of endorsing that high a marginal rate.

Rep - Pramila - Jayapal - D-Wash - Co-chair

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said she thinks “the fact that people are not paying their fair share is a problem and the millionaires and billionaires are the ones where that has to rest.”

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), a leader of the progressive caucus in the last Congress, said that while it’s important to make sure that “everybody’s carrying their load,” he didn’t know if 70 percent “would be the right number or not.”

House - Budget - Committee - Chairman - John

House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) said he wasn’t sure about a specific top rate but said that Ocasio-Cortez is “not off-base.”

Other Democratic lawmakers were more critical.

Rep - Bill - Pascrell - D-NJ - Member

“I thought it was comical,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), a member of the tax writing Ways and Means panel.

“You can have reasonable taxation, and then you can send signals that we’re just going to go after people who have a few dollars,” he said.

Rep - Ro - Khanna - D-Calif - Vice

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who is first vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said he would take a different approach to raising revenue, such as repealing past tax cuts on high earners, taxing corporations on foreign earnings that currently aren’t being taxed, creating a financial transactions tax and reducing U.S. military involvement overseas.

“My view is one that there are better ways of getting to the revenue” than a 70-percent tax on high incomes, he said.

Ocasio-Cortez - Idea - Way

Ocasio-Cortez floated the idea as a way to help pay for a...
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