Biden decides to shelve Warren’s wealth tax

The president’s Build Back Better initiative will rely on other pay-fors instead.

President Joe Biden will not call for a wealth tax to help pay for his multitrillion-dollar Build Back Better initiative, according to multiple people familiar with the White House’s thinking. In doing so, he will sidestep a proposal that progressive Democrats, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), say would raise trillions of dollars in revenue and narrow income inequality.

The decision comes amid intense debate in Washington over how to fund the president’s sprawling package, which could top $3 trillion. Democrats are pushing for a variety of tax hikes to fund the legislation, while Republicans are vowing to oppose any package that relies on tax increases to raise revenue.

As a presidential candidate, Biden shied away from a full embrace of the wealth tax, which Warren popularized on the trail and has since introduced in Congress. The policy calls for a 2 percent annual tax on households with a net worth above $50 million, which would rise to 3 percent for those with a net worth above $1 billion.

The Biden White House had not outright rejected the idea — at least not publicly — and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said earlier this month the administration was undecided on whether to pursue it. That fueled optimism among supporters that some form of a wealth tax would ultimately be used to help pay for Democratic priorities like infrastructure, clean energy, expanded broadband, and hospital and school repairs.

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