Rallying to President Obama’s State of the Union cry, Senate Democrats said Wednesday they will make his call to raise taxes on the wealthy their chief objective this year.
“Nothing is more important to Congress than reducing income inequality,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, who said those of all political stripes now believe “the wealthy should contribute more.”
And he and his lieutenants in the Senate made it clear they believe the issue chiefly targets Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential hopeful that the Democratic Party has deemed the most dangerous foe to Mr. Obama in November’s elections.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer renamed the Democrats’ so-called Buffett Rule — that millionaires should pay at least the same tax rate as average workers — the “Romney Rule,” and Sen. Richard J. Durbin accused the former Massachusetts governor of having invested money in “notorious tax havens.”
“If that’s become normal, I think we need to have a new normal,” he said.
Mr. Romney, a successful businessman, made $42.7 million in 2010 and 2011, and paid $6.2 million in income taxes across those two years, according to records his campaign released this week. He also paid a large amount to charity.
Mr. Romney’s income was chiefly from investments, which are taxed at a lower rate than wage or salary income. He said he paid all the taxes he owed.
Mr. Obama on Tuesday called for a new minimum tax rate for all millionaires, to be set at 30 percent.