With Millionaire Tax, Bill Nelson Warms Up to Barack Obama's Jobs Bill

By: Kenric Ward | Posted: October 8, 2011 3:55 AM

Bill Nelson

Senator Bill Nelson | Credit: Bill Ingalls - Flickr

Though President Obama's $445 billion jobs package has virtually no chance for passage, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson is warming to the idea now that a 5.6 percent tax on millionaires and billionaires has been tacked onto the bill.

Moderate Democratic senators, skittish about voting for tax increases, are abandoning the bill. But Nelson, a self-proclaimed moderate who is up for re-election in 2012, appears to be standing with the White House and Majority Leader Harry Reid, who proposed the added tax.

"If Senator Nelson had his druthers, he wouldn’t have done it this way. He favors allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for everyone making more than $1 million a year. But it all comes out about the same under Senator Reid’s plan," Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin told Sunshine State News.

"So he's inclined to support it."

Nelson has bounced back and forth on the tax issue. On Monday, McLaughlin noted critically that the Obama bill "has some things [Nelson] voted against before, like increasing income tax rates on people who make more than $200,000 a year."

But 10 months ago, the two-term senator voted for cloture on a bill that would have let the Republican tax cuts expire on individual incomes over $200,000 and joint filers making $250,000. Senate records show Nelson joined 51 other Democrats in that vote on Dec. 4, 2010.

According to a Congressional Record compilation of his votes since he entered the Senate in 2001, Nelson has voted to raise taxes "at least 143 times."

In contrast to Florida's Nelson, Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., roundly rejects any tax increases at a time when businesses and the economy are struggling.

“No, no, no. … This is a time to be cutting. The cutting stops when the taxes increase," Nelson told The Hill last week.

Likewise, Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., told Politico: "We shouldn’t increase taxes on ordinary income. … There are other ways to get there.’”

Public opinion polls indicate varying degrees of support for higher taxes on the wealthy, but Republicans adamantly oppose any tax hikes. Democratic defections will doom the jobs bill in the Senate, where a GOP filibuster would require 60 votes for passage.

The government spending in the original jobs bill -- now with an added 5.6 percent tax surcharge on filers earning more than $1 million -- is a deal killer, declared Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

"There won't be enough votes to pass this bill," he predicted. "We're not going to vote for bad legislation just because the president wants us to.

"We're not going to pass a job killer that raises taxes in the middle of a recession," McConnell told Fox News on Thursday night.

But with Obama repeatedly insisting that lawmakers "pass this bill," McConnell dared Majority Leader Reid to bring it to a vote.

Reid, knowing that Obama's plan had little prospect of passage, had bottled it up in committee, and dismissed McConnell's maneuver as "political gamesmanship." Yet two days later, Reid, D-Nev., proposed adding the millionaire tax and said he would put the bill on track for a vote.

But still more partisan wrangling Thursday night cast doubt on the timetable. Using the Senate's arcane procedural rules, Reid continues to delay action in an ongoing game of legislative chicken.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., put the situation in perspective on Friday, saying, "The president's jobs plan is not a serious plan, and I suspect that's exactly why Senate Democrats want to avoid voting on it at all costs."

“The question before Bill Nelson is a simple one -- does he support his liberal party leaders’ proposal to pass a massive tax hike in order to pay for yet another massive spending bill?” said National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Jahan Wilcox.

"With nearly 1 million unemployed Floridians, the last thing the Sunshine State needs is businesses paying more money to the federal government, when it could allocate those resources toward hiring new employees.

“Given the fact that Senator Nelson voted 98 percent of the time with President Obama last year, Florida taxpayers shouldn’t hold their breath. But the question is, when will Senator Nelson make clear exactly where he stands?” Wilcox asked.

GOP National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus maintained that "Republicans have been willing to work with the president since day one to find common ground on his proposal. Yet President Obama continues to delay action by insisting on an all-or-nothing approach so he can campaign against Congress on the taxpayer’s dime."

Priebus said September's "disappointing jobs report underscores why President Obama’s Stimulus 2.0 is not the answer to put Americans back to work."

"After putting $825 billion on the nation’s credit card, only to have 32 straight months of unemployment at 8 percent or above, it is remarkable that the president would double down on the same policies at the tune of nearly half a trillion dollars in more ‘stimulus’ spending."

McConnell said Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky will introduce an alternative jobs bill next week.

Declining to provide details, McConnell said, "It will not include any government borrowing or spending."

Contact Kenric Ward at kward@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 801-5341.

Comments (15)

6:43AM MAY 28TH 2013
Politics never means sitting in an AC room and giving orders to others. Its means doing something for the public. A good politician is the part of the field he usually went to watch a football match, a motorcycle race and many other activities like wearing helmet and for the public awareness program for safe riding. Marco Rubio doing the all things which is ultimately attracting public towards him.
9:35PM OCT 12TH 2011
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2:13PM OCT 9TH 2011
Is this guy alive ? Really ? He looks like a mummy.
8:19PM OCT 8TH 2011
Tired of hearing about the millionaires. FOCUS IS JOBS NOW. Please spare us from the CONFUSION. We've had enough of the SPINNING. Keep it SIMPLE. TALK JOBS AND JOBS RIGHT NOW ONLY PLEASE.
8:16PM OCT 8TH 2011
If you don't like it, then show us what you want to do now. Unemployed want the jobs now, not 12 months from today. Now is the time and the president has the ONLY plan on the table. If you oppose it... then what's your plan?
Bryan K Donnelly
10:37AM OCT 9TH 2011
Plan! Very simple. ELIMINATE ALL BUSINESS TAXES AT ONCE. Litterally trillions of overseas dollars would flood into our economy. Within a two quarters we'd be in REAL economic growth; 6-8%, unemployment would be below the 4% "full employment" rate, AND government revenues would INCREASE. Of course the politians will never consider such a thing. Too many populist economic illiterates would howl about "giving away" to the "big corporations." Class war is so much more satisfying to nitiwts, much preferable to growth and jobs.
8:11PM OCT 8TH 2011
The fat cats in Congress still blocking anything that will help out the unemployed American. Wealthy people do not create jobs. They make PROFITS. Hiring only when they start losing money because they can't produce fast enough to rake in the money. Government is the ONLY entity that can jump start employment in recession. Republicans will block that because is it the ONLY ace they have for the white house. They want the white house at all cost including sacrificing the American Worker . Just a "Collateral Damage". They know the job bill will get get people back to work now but then they lose the only fighting chance they have. That's what the deal is. Starve them to death so that they vote for us is the GOP mantra. Should we let them. Heck no!!! OCCUPY CONGRESS NOW BEFORE WE ALL LOSE THIS COUNTRY.
Bryan K Donnelly
10:39AM OCT 9TH 2011
When I speak of "economic illiterates" driven soley by emotion, I mean YOU.
3:42PM OCT 8TH 2011
Arthur Sobery
1:51PM OCT 8TH 2011
Senator Nelson supports Obama's jobs bill? Give me a damned break!

Obama bailed out all the mortgage banks, & commercial banks, increasing our national debt by 50%. This created exactly ZERO jobs, where he could have better spent the money on a massive public works projects--putting many many thousands back to work.

Obama should have had his attorney general prorsecute those banker bastards, & put workers back to work.

Senator, I'm sorry, but thinking like yours are what's wrong with Washington.

You don't need to respond to my opinions, because you're concerned about your ree-election rather what's best for our country.

Horray for Obama's jobs bill; he's about 2.5 years too late & broke.
9:08AM OCT 8TH 2011
There are lots of "millionaires" making less than $100,000 per year. Also, making a million dollars per year doesn't mean you are a "millionaire". The definition is based on net worth.
Bryan K Donnelly
9:00AM OCT 8TH 2011

For years now Bill "'moderate' in Florida, leftist in Washington" Nelson has been passing himself off as a "middle of the road" poliitcian; even a "fiscal conservative." his excuse for supporting every concievable tax increase. That nonsense is wearing off. By his vote on Obama's "stimulus two" so called "jobs" bill he is going to be smoked out.

If he votes NOT to raise taxes, he'll infuriate his left wing base; maybe even get a primary opponent. If he votes FOR it, he'll be seen as the huge big spender, high taxer he really IS. And Adam Hasner will be our next US Senator.
7:25AM OCT 8TH 2011
How long before the election?
6:26AM OCT 8TH 2011
Bill Nelson's job is supposed to be to represent the State of Florida to the Federal Government, protecting the state's sovreignty. But what he consistently does is just the opposite. He acts like not much more than an Obama and demo party yes-man.
8:49PM FEB 24TH 2012
wow great website and brilliant content

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