By Amy Bingham
Having condemned President Obama's "Buffett Rule" proposal to raise taxes on some millionaires as "class warfare," Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., proposed his own solution to billionaire Warren Buffett's complaints that he paid a lower tax rate than his secretary.
Scalise said he plans to submit a bill Wednesday night that would add a line to the 1040 tax form allowing people who feel they do not pay enough income tax to opt-in to paying more.
"I wanted to make sure that there was an option out there on the IRS tax form for those out there who wanted to send more of their money into Washington to help pay down the deficit," Scalise said. "It's an idea that solves a few problems and ensures that taxes won't be raised on America's job creators."
Scalise said his bill will allow Buffett to "put his money where his mouth is" and "send in a check" to the U.S. Treasury.
Grover Norquist, the founder of the conservative group Americans for Tax Reform, sent a letter to Scalise praising him for the bill, but said when similar "tax me more" lines were tried at the state level, the "limousine liberal set" did not "put their money where their mouth is."
"Mr. Buffett should be able to voluntarily pay extra income taxes if he feels the need to -- without imposing broad, job-killing tax hikes on our nation's small employers," the statement said. "Taxpayers are calling Mr. Buffett's bluff with this legislation. It's his move."
While Scalise may be the first congressman to propose an alternative Buffett Rule bill, he is not the first to suggest that Buffett voluntarily send in a check rather than have the president ignite "class warfare" by implementing a mandatory tax hike.
"If he's feeling guilty about it, I think he should send in a check but we don't want to stagnate this economy by raising taxes," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on NBC's "Meet the Press" in September.
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Obama's Buffett Rule would "simply divide this country more."
"It will attack job creators, divide people and it doesn't grow the economy," Ryan said on "Fox News Sunday" shortly after the president announced his rule. "Class warfare may make for really good politics, but it makes for rotten economics."