An Odd Couple: Millionaire Surtax Paired with Balanced Budget Amendment Requirement

In what was surprising news to many when, yesterday, freshman Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) announced that he would introduce legislation that would apply a tax to those with annual incomes exceeding $1 million. The concept has held pretty much exclusively Democratic support, until now that is. Crawford touted the move as a necessary compromise for a path towards reducing the county’s deficits and sky-rocketing debt.

An aide described it as analogous to other bipartisan efforts to reaching a deal, stating:

He’s watched the Gangs of Six and 100 and deficit commissions, as well as leadership’s budget and tax plan, and he feels there will never be a deal that will pass the Senate without a revenue component

But today we learned what the other half of the compromise contains. Crawford’s proposed legislation, “The Shared Responsibility in Preserving America’s Future Act,” requires passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) in exchange for implementation of the millionaires’ surtax.

Although versions have been embraced at times by Democrats in past years, lately a BBA has been seen in a more partisan light as primarily Republican-backed. It will be interesting to see the type of support Crawford’s legislation receives. We commend lawmakers who try to reach across the aisle to find bipartisan solutions to address rising federal debt, and Rep. Crawford's efforts should not go unnoticed.