Key House Democrats decided today to raise taxes on the wealthy to help pay for health care legislation, capping an up-and-down week for President Barack Obama's top domestic priority. Democrats on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee agreed to a new surtax that would start with households making $350,000 a year and begin in 2011, said the committee's chairman, Rep. Charles Rangel.
It would raise some $540 billion over 10 years, about half the cost of Obama's ambitious plan to reshape the nation's health care system and provide care to the 50 million uninsured. However, lawmakers could not provide an exact price tag of the overall bill. The proposal faces an uncertain reception in the Senate and from moderate and conservative House Democrats, who rebelled Thursday over various aspects—including costs—of the plan.