The bill, sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), would raise some $50 billion in revenue, a small fraction of the deficit. Democrats say the issue is also about fairness, echoing Warren Buffett's argument that millionaires and billionaires shouldn't be paying lower tax rates than their secretaries.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell scoffed. "This is yet another proposal from Democrats that won't create a single job or lower the price at the pump by a penny, but may have the opposite effect," he said.
Schumer said that if the proposal fails to get the 60 votes for cloture this time, Republicans will feel pressure to back down later due to the popularity of the principle.
"Once Gov. Romney gets the nomination, he's going to have to move much more to the center," Schumer said. "I think there's a decent chance we might pass it this year despite what Republicans say now. They're on the defensive on their signature issue, taxes."