GOP senator lashes out at White House for targeting him on Buffett Rule vote

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Few smile at the thought that they will be “targeted” by the White House — Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander is no exception.

The senior Tennessee senator, known for his predilection for compromise and problem solving, was not thrilled to read Friday in The Wall Street Journal that the White House and Senate Democrats have targeted him and other moderate GOP senators in an effort to pressure them into voting for the “Buffett Rule.”

The “rule” is scheduled for a Senate vote later this month. According to The Wall Street Journal, Democrats plan to put the pressure on their so-called “targets” by way of op-eds and public comments by the administration.

“This is a disappointing and cynical smokescreen,” Alexander told The Daily Caller. “Since the top one percent of taxpayers already pay 37 percent of federal individual income taxes, the ‘Buffett Rule’ would generate revenues of less than one percent of the new debt projected under the president’s ten-year budget.”

The “Buffett Rule” is named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who famously touts the fact that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. If implemented, it would impose a 30 percent federal tax rate on annual income over $1 million. Proponents argue that the rule should be passed in the interest of “fairness.”

“Congress is capable of taking on special interests, doing something that is fair and right, and standing up for the middle-class taxpayer — with the added benefit of $50 billion [over 10 years] going to [reduce] our debt and deficit,” Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said Thursday, according to Investment News.

The proposal is strongly opposed by the GOP, which argues that the rule will make little dent in the deficit. It is not expected to have enough support to overcome a filibuster.

“This is yet another proposal from Democrats that won’t create a single job or lower the price at the pump by a penny, but may have the opposite effect,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week in a statement to The Hill.

According to Alexander, the best way to deal with entitlements and close tax loopholes is by implementing the recommendations in the Simpson-Bowles Debt Commission report, which currently enjoy some bipartisan support in the Senate.

“Instead of playing politics, the president should join me and three dozen other senators of both parties in endorsing his own Simpson-Bowles Debt Commission report,” Alexander added. “Both Simpson-Bowles and the Ryan budget, which I also support, would restructure entitlement spending — the main source of our dangerous federal debt — and reform the tax code by closing special-interest loopholes.”

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