Obama Tax Deduction Plan DOA?

By Jennifer Parker

Mar 5, 2009 7:20pm

To pay for half of his $634 billion health reform fund, President Barack Obama has proposed limiting itemized tax deductions — from mortgage interest to charitable deductions — for wealthier Americans starting in 2011.

The plan may not be dead-on-arrival — but it is pretty close.

In my reporting across Capitol Hill today, I couldn’t find any strong support for the plan.

And it’s strongly opposed by several key Democrats on the key Senate Finance Committee, including chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.

But the Obama administration is pushing back.

The White House argues this would only affect the top 1.2 percent of taxpayers and about one percent of charitable contributions.

"A middle-class family donates $1 to charity, they get 15 cents off their income tax. Bill Gates donates $1 to charity, he takes 35 cents off his income tax. The proposal that the White House has would simply reduce those levels to the same levels that we saw during the Reagan administration," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today during his briefing to reporters.

But their bottom line message to lawmakers: If you have a better idea, we’re all ears.

Administration officials hold out some hope that Congress will like this idea better after they work their way through all the alternatives.

Few signs of that so far.

– George Stephanopoulos

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