WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden will renew his calls for higher taxes on billionaires and corporate stock buybacks in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, as part of his push to restructure the world’s largest economy to be less favorable to the wealthy.
These proposals, which mostly require Congress to pass new laws, are unlikely to become reality, given Republicans’ control of the House of Representatives. Republicans’ have pushed to slash funding for the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. tax agency, and could push for an extension of tax cuts passed under former President Donald Trump that mostly benefit the wealthy.
Quadrupling tax on corporate stock buybacks: Biden earlier signed into law a 1% tax on corporate stock buybacks, which the White House says “encourages businesses to invest in their growth and productivity.” During the speech he will call for that to be quadrupled, the White House said.
A minimum tax rate for billionaires: Billionaires pay an 8% tax rate on average in the United States, the White House says. Biden will ask for a tax to “make sure that the wealthiest Americans no longer pay a tax rate lower than teachers and firefighters,” the White House said, without adding specifics.
Expand the Child Tax Credit: Biden will call on Congress to renew the Child Tax Credit that was passed with COVID-19 relief bills, and lifted 3.6 million children out of poverty before they expired in December of 2021.
Price cap on insulin: Biden will call for an extension of the price cap on insulin for all Americans. He will highlight his administration’s efforts to impose a $35-per-month limit on insulin that took effect in January.
But that price cap, which was passed as part of last year’s Inflation Reduction Act, only applied to beneficiaries covered by Medicare. The president on Tuesday will renew his push for the policy to be applied to anyone with an insulin prescription.
Medicaid expansion: Democrats crafted a policy in 2021 to expand the safety net program in the nearly dozen states where Republican officials have long refused the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. But the policy wasn’t included in the party’s final economic package. Tonight, the president will urge Congress to close the coverage gap.
Tackle the opioid epidemic: Biden will call for ways to disrupt the trafficking, distribution, and sale of fentanyl. He will call for stopping more fentanyl from getting into the U.S. via the southwest border, push Congress to make permanent tough penalties on suppliers of fentanyl and lead a sustained diplomatic push that will address fentanyl and its supply chain abroad.
Tackling America’s mental health crisis: Biden will call for ways to protect children online, strengthen data privacy and transparency for all Americans, demand transparency about the algorithms Big Tech companies use that discriminate and sow division and address severe shortages in the behavioral health workforce, which the White House said is at the center of the mental health crisis.
Ending cancer: Biden will call on Congress to act to end cancer by reauthorizing the National Cancer Act, which will update the nation’s cancer research and care systems and highlight steps his administration will take to help people avoid smoking.
(Reporting by Heather Timmons and Nandita Bose; Editing by Alistair Bell and Sharon Singleton)