- Sen. Elizabeth Warren called out billionaire Leon Cooperman in a Senate Finance hearing.
- Warren had invited him to testify as he’s been a vocal critic of her wealth tax proposal.
- Warren also highlighted three tax proposals that she said could pay for the infrastructure packages.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
In her first hearing as chair of the Senate Finance subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth., Sen. Elizabeth Warren dove into the need for greater taxes on the wealthy and corporations – and took aim at one of her biggest critics.
“I invited one of the loudest critics – Billionaire Leon Cooperman – here today to discuss these proposals with the members of this committee and the American public. After all, that is how democracy is supposed to work – citizens and stakeholders discuss ideas, and then our elected representatives vote,” Warren said in her opening testimony.
“I’m disappointed that Mr. Cooperman decided he was more comfortable taking softball questions on cable news than subjecting his views to debate in the US Senate. Mr. Cooperman may have been too frightened to come here today, but others were not.”
Cooperman has spoken out on multiple occasions against the wealth tax, and he and Warren have had a long back-and-forth on the viability of both the tax in principle and Warren’s proposal in particular. He ultimately declined her invitation for him to testify at Tuesday’s hearing – which is titled “Creating Opportunity Through a Fairer Tax System” – saying that he’d found the invitation “self-serving and disingenuous.”
In 2019, Cooperman wrote Warren a five-page letter in 2019 in response to a tweet she wrote that asked him to “pitch in a bit more.” She incorporated Cooperman into presidential campaign videos that centered on the need for a wealth tax.
After Warren introduced her Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act, Cooperman went on CNBC to criticize it: “I don’t think it’s intelligent. I don’t think it’s legal.”
A call to go bigger on taxes
Warren also highlighted three of her proposals in the opening testimony: her wealth tax, a tax on corporate profits, and increased funding for the IRS to increase tax enforcement for the wealthy.
She said a combination of these three measures would raise over $6 trillion – enough to pay for President Joe Biden’s two-pronged $3.5 trillion infrastructure package with $2 trillion left over.
Biden has reportedly planned a few tax measures that target the country’s wealthiest, including an increase in capital gains taxes and an increase in the income tax, as well as allocating $80 billion to get back $780 billion in unpaid taxes from the wealthy. He’s also proposed increasing the corporate tax rate.
“As these numbers show, our nation can do both – invest in American families and pay for it without raising taxes on those same families,” Warren said. “We can build a country that creates opportunity, not just for those at the top, but for everyone.””