The Senate rejected the effort to make tax policy commensurate with the slogans about American values that we parrot freely--opportunity, paying fair shares, etc. Given the now rigid "phantom" filibuster rule requiring a supermajority to pass anything in the Senate, the Republicans --especially if joined by a few of the right-leaning Democrats--can defeat just about any attempt at reasonable taxation.
So Senate 2230 got only a majority of the SEnate (51 votes) in support of the effort to move the Buffett Rule--calling for a phased in increase to 30% minimum tax on taxpayers with income in excess of a million a year.
Minority Whip Jon Kyl (radical rightist Republican from Arizona) said Congress should instead be focussing on the economy. BNA Daily Tax RealTime (Apr. 16, 2012 at 7:35pm). Shows how completely out of tune with reality the Republican right is. Focusing on the divide between rich and poor is the best way to focus on the economy these days. We are so busy redistributing upwards through tax and fiscal policies that we are rapidly driving the middle class into extinction and depriving those who are disadvantaged by income and other demographics (like location in inner cities) of a fair opportunity to live a decent life. Watch Angela Grovers Blackwell on Bill Moyers PBS program (4/15/12) for more on what equity really means and how our policies are ignoring the real equity issues surrounding us.