MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Just days before his State of the Union address, President Obama unveiled a major tax proposal that calls for raising taxes on the wealthy and large financial firms.

The president wants to use the revenue for tax breaks for the middle class and to pay for his plan to make two-year community colleges free. But does the proposal have any chance of getting through a Republican Congress?

The president said his tax plan would raise $320 billion over ten years.

Republicans, who now control both the House and Senate, are sharply critical of the plan, saying it would stall economic growth.

Many democrats admit it will be tough getting any of this through the Republican-controlled Congress, but they say it sets the stage for a debate they’d like to have last through the 2016 presidential election.

Democrats say middle-class Americans have been left out of the economic recovery because real wages for U.S. workers have remained stagnant for more than a decade.

Sen. Al Franken appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning.

“I think the President is being aggressive here for a reason,” he said, “because we want to really make a clear line about who is working for the middle class and those aspiring to be in the middle class, and I think if we put it that way, the majority is going to see that we have to do something.”

The president’s plan would also put a new tax on the nation’s hundred largest banks.

A similar plan was floated by Republicans last year, but that GOP plan also called for lowering the overall U.S. corporate tax rate.

Republicans say that’s the kind of tax reform the U.S. needs, not only to promote economic growth but to keep American companies and jobs from moving overseas.

To see the full interview with Sen. Al Franken, watch the video above.


Esme Murphy

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