March 10, 2011- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today introduced The Emergency Deficit Reduction Act that would establish a surtax on millionaires and eliminate tax breaks for big oil and gas companies.
Sanders, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, said any proposal to fund the government for the rest of this fiscal year must pair additional revenue from those who can afford it the most with spending cuts.
"The American people get it. They understand you can't move toward deficit reduction just by cutting programs that working families, the middle class, low-income people desperately need in order to survive in the midst of this terrible recession. They understand that serious, responsible deficit reduction requires shared sacrifice," Sanders said in a Senate floor speech.
Under Sanders' legislation, a 5.4 percent tax on income of more than $1 million a year would yield up to $50 billion annually for the U.S. Treasury.
The same legislation would end tax breaks for big oil and gas companies. That provision would yield about $3.5 billion a year in new revenue.
Sanders voted yesterday against a House-passed spending bill that slashed Head Start, Pell grants, community health centers, LIHEAP, the Social Security Administration and many other programs that are vitally important to millions of middle-class families.
"The Republicans wanted to move toward a balanced budget solely on the backs of the middle class and some of the most vulnerable people in this country, but didn't ask the wealthiest people, who are becoming much wealthier, to contribute one penny in shared sacrifice."
He also voted against a Democratic alternative saying afterward that "if the Democrats are serious about deficit reduction they have to raise revenue along with spending cuts."