Senate Democrats add millionaire tax to jobs bill

By By Erica Werner

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 5 2011 1:49 p.m. MDT

"We offered a balanced way to pay for the American Jobs Act, but if Congress has a better idea that ensures that everyone pays their fair share, we're open to it," Pfeiffer said.

The day's events underscored that, as submitted by the White House, Obama's bill would not only fail in the Republican-controlled House, but faced enough opposition from Democrats to endanger its prospects in the Senate, as well.

"There's the good, the bad and the ugly. The ugly was $447 billion," Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said of the bill's price tag.

Democrats said Reid's proposed millionaires' surtax was designed to quell much if not all of the opposition from his own rank and file.

To pay for his package of tax breaks, unemployment benefits and new spending on public works projects, Obama has proposed higher taxes on family incomes over $250,000 and on the oil and gas industry.

The first request troubles Democratic senators from states like New York, New Jersey and California, where large numbers of families could be hit by the increase. The second has drawn opposition most prominently from Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, whose state is home to numerous oil and gas operations.

The president also proposed higher taxes on hedge fund managers and corporate jet owners, but those increases, too, would disappear under the changes Reid outlined Wednesday.

In political terms, Democrats appear to be hoping that Republicans will oppose both the higher taxes on million-dollar earners and the president's call for new spending aimed at reducing joblessness, thus leaving themselves open to a charge of protecting the wealthy at the expense of the unemployed.

While Republican lawmakers appear receptive to tax cuts the president has called for, they have expressed strong opposition to his proposed new spending.

Associated Press writers David Espo, Julie Pace, Ben Feller, Stephen Ohlemacher and Jim Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.

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