Plenty of Democrats have come forward to voice objections to the measure, including some of the most liberal members of Congress. The simple truth: A $250,000 threshold is low for those small businesses that seek to grow and thrive, distorting owners‚?? decisions and stifling their aspirations.
1. Virginia Sen.-elect Tim Kaine
Tim Kaine, former Virginia governor and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, broke with Obama during his tough election battle against George Allen for the Virginia Senate seat. Kaine put out a statement calling for putting the threshold for extending the Bush tax cuts at $500,000, twice as high as Obama‚??s plan. Kaine even put out an ad during the campaign called ‚??Middle Ground,‚?Ě highlighting his tax position.
2. Billionaire Warren Buffett
While not a politician, Warren Buffett is owed a debt of gratitude from Obama for providing ammunition for the president‚??s class-warfare gambit, with the so-called ‚??Buffett Rule‚?Ě regarding his secretary‚??s tax rate. Perhaps Obama needs to listen to the Oracle of Omaha, who has also given the president advice about the $250,000 threshold for tax increases, saying that the level for tax hikes should began for households, including small businesses, making $500,000 a year.
3. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
Even Nancy Pelosi, who never saw a tax hike she didn‚??t like, realized that a $250,000 annual income doesn‚??t make you ‚??rich,‚?Ě especially in her pricey San Francisco district with its sky-high real estate costs. Initially Pelosi sought to raise the threshold to $1 million but backed off after her split with the president resulted in sensational headlines. Now while pushing Obama‚??s tax cut, she says she is ‚??agnostic‚?Ě about specifics in the plan.
4. New York Sen. Charles Schumer
Like Pelosi, Schumer represents constituents who live in areas where $250,000 doesn‚??t go far and, like her, he initially sought to raise the limit to $1 million before relenting. But the New York senator still doesn‚??t believe that it is a good idea. Politico reported that he backed off even though Schumer ‚??still believes that the millionaire strategy is the best one. But he believes more that party unity at this time is even more important.‚?Ě
5. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson
In the midst of a tough re-election bid against Rep. Connie Mack IV, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson broke with President Obama and endorsed renewing Bush-era tax cuts for those making less than $1 million, substantially less than Obama‚??s $250,000 threshold. Nelson was able to defeat Mack, who sought to portray the incumbent as trying to have it both ways on taxes after he cast a Senate vote for the Obama position.
6. Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill
Sen. Claire McCaskill said during her re-election campaign that she was ‚??open‚?Ě to lifting the tax cut threshold to $1 million if it was part of a comprehensive deficit-reduction plan. Sarah Steelman, one of the Republicans seeking to dethrone McCaskill, made her straddling on taxes a campaign issue. Fortunately for McCaskill, Steelman was defeated in the GOP primary by Todd Akin, who chose to highlight his differences with the incumbent on rape.
7. Vice President Joe Biden
While it is not clear if Biden was just ‚??being Joe‚?? during his Oct. 11 debate with Rep. Paul Ryan, the vice president seemed to suggest that a $1 million tax-cut threshold was the preferred proposal. ‚??The middle class will pay less, and people making a million dollars or more will begin to contribute slightly more,‚?Ě Biden said about the Bush tax cuts during the high-profile debate, forcing the White House to respond that Biden was ‚??providing an illustration.‚?Ě
8. Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman
When the Senate voted on President Obama‚??s tax bill that contained the $250,000 tax jab, Sen. Joe Lieberman, one of two Independents elected to the Senate and who caucuses with Democrats, voted against the measure. Lieberman reasoned that tax hikes weren‚??t the answer and wanted a long-term debt deal that included spending cuts and tax reform.
9. Virginia Sen. Jim Webb
Like Lieberman, Sen. Jim Webb voted against the tax bill when it came to the Senate floor. Not only did Webb break with Obama by opposing raising taxes on household income over $250,000, he said would vote against any tax increase on wages, preferring instead to raise taxes on capital gains and dividends.
10. North Dakota Sen.-elect Heidi Heitkamp
Heidi Heitkamp was in tough battle over the summer with Republican Rep. Rick Berg for the North Dakota Senate seat. A former state attorney general who had been out of the government sector for a decade, Heitkamp broke with the president on the tax issue, calling for extending the tax cuts for income less than $1 million. She ended up beating Berg by less than 1 percent of the vote.