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Clinton gives nod to Sanders with 65% top estate tax rate

Hillary Clinton on Thursday announced an increase to her proposed top estate tax rate in her latest nod to Sen. Bernie Sanders and the progressive wing of her Democratic Party.

Clinton has repeatedly called to put a larger tax burden on the wealthiest Americans to boost investment in infrastructure and job creation. The revision will put a 65 percent tax rate on estates valued at $1 billion or more per couple, the Clinton campaign said Thursday.

In 2016, estate tax returns must be filed for estates valued at $5.5 million or more, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The top rate currently sits at about 40 percent, while Clinton had previously proposed an increase to 45 percent on inherited property.

Sanders, Clinton's populist primary opponent, had previously proposed that top rate, which the Republican Party quickly criticized Thursday. Clinton's GOP opponent Donald Trump has called for an outright elimination of the so-called "death tax," a proposal Clinton and other critics have contended would help Trump himself.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on July 12, 2016.
Melina Mara | The Washington Post | Getty Images
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on July 12, 2016.

The pair have offered contradicting visions for taxes, with Clinton promising to put a larger burden on the wealthiest Americans through a surcharge and the elimination of loopholes. Trump has touted across the board tax cuts, which could balloon the national deficit, though he has also pledged to cut some loopholes for wealthy Americans.

Trump's campaign in a statement called the revision "an even more dramatic hike in the death tax." Clinton's campaign claims her changes would affect four out of every 1,000 estates. Only 223 estate taxpayers had estates with reported values of $50 million or more in 2014, according to the Washington Post.

Sanders emboldened many progressive Democrats and independents with his Democratic primary run, leaving some looking for an alternative to Clinton in the general election. The Green Party's Jill Stein garnered 3 percent of support in the latest NBC/ Wall Street Journalpoll released Wednesday.

Clinton has walked a tightrope of appealing to disillusioned Democrats while attempting to court moderates unhappy with the bombastic Trump.