Health Care Surtax on the Chopping Block

Dems waffle on high-income tax; timetable cloudy
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2009 7:54 AM CDT
Nancy Pelosi is joined by other Steny Hoyer, Pete Stark, Henry Waxman, Charles Rangel, and John Dingell, in a news conference announcing the introduction of health care legislation, July 14, 2009.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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(Newser) – Democrats are growing queasy about their plan to tax the wealthy to help pay for health care reform, the New York Times reports. Nancy Pelosi yesterday suggested revising the contentious provision so that fewer households would have to pay the surtax. Under the current House draft, individuals earning more than $280,000, and couples earning more than $350,000 would have to pay. Pelosi wants those figures upped to $500,000 and $1 million.

The Senate, meanwhile, seems uninterested in having the tax at all, and House Democrats don’t want to vote for the tax if it won’t wind up in the final bill. The quandary has left the bill’s timetable cloudy. The Senate looks unlikely to vote before its Aug. 8 recess, and Pelosi has told Harry Reid that she can’t hold a vote until she’s clear on the Senate’s intentions.