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Schumer: Turn 'Buffett Rule' into legislation

The Senate Democrats top message man, Chuck Schumer, told reporters on a conference call this afternoon that he wants to see the so-called "Buffett rule" become a piece of legislation that Congress can vote on -- rather than just a "principle" as it's being described by the White House.

He said, "Let's draft the language and get it scored. Let's put it on the floor, and let's have a vote. A proposal like this would gain broad support in the Democratic caucus."

Schumer said revenues derived from the "Buffett rule" -- calling for a minimum tax rate for individuals making more than $1 million per year, to prevent investors like Warren Buffett to pay a lower effective tax rate than his secretary does -- could be used to pay for job creation measures or as a standalone for deficit reduction. He argued that Democrats have the upper hand because Americans support higher taxes on the wealthy.

"I believe the American people are so strongly with us on this issue, that once the president goes around the country and he talks about it, like I believe he will do, we are going to win this fight... For the first time in a very long time, Democrats can emerge on top on a tax debate," he said.

When pressed on the fact that the bill would have little chance of passing Congress, Schumer said to hold off until President Obama had a chance to sell it to the country.

"Don't take a snapshot today and say it's not going to happen. Wait and see after a month... [The president] understands that you cannot win this fight just by putting it up for a vote tomorrow because the issue hasn't been drawn to the American people"

And what about opposition from those in the Democratic Party leery of raising taxes?

Schumer said, "As long as the taxes are aimed at the very highest income people... who are not paying their fair share and in closing corporate loopholes, I think you're going to find virtually universal Democratic support."

Schumer believes the President's deficit reduction plan announced today should serve as a blueprint for the Super Committee. He said he was pleased with Obama's tone.

"The president put down the marker today, and he did it in terms more forceful than we have seen from him before," he said.