Senator Sanders Proposes Revenue Increases to Address the Deficit

Updated: Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), formerly of the President's Fiscal Commission, has introduced similar legislation in the House.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced a bill yesterday called The Emergency Deficit Reduction Act as an effort to reduce the growing budget gap. This proposal comes as lawmakers are trying to reach an agreement to fund the government for the remaining seven months of FY 2011.

The senator aims to put revenue on the deficit reduction table. Sanders' proposal would place a surtax of 5.4 percent on income above $1 million, bringing in an estimated $50 billion per year, and also end tax expenditures directed at oil and gas companies, bringing in around $3.5 billion per year. (See CRFB's policy paper on tax expenditure reform here.)

Sanders voted against both the Republican and Democratic plans offered earlier this week because neither option would raise more revenue. In his statement, Sanders said: 

“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..."

“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.”