Washington (CNN) - Democrats on the so-called "super committee" proposed during a closed meeting Tuesday a $3 trillion plan designed to slash the federal deficit but Republicans swiftly and decisively rejected it because it relied heavily on tax increases, according to several congressional sources from both parties.
One top Republican aide described the Democratic offer as "outrageously absurd" and a "non-starter," and a sign the super committee may ultimately fail. But this is the first time in the months since the committee began its negotiations that any group in the committee has offered a specific plan.
Democratic sources told CNN that at the meeting Tuesday the ten-year plan was presented to the 12 member committee by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, the Finance Committee chairman. A majority of the 6 Democrats on the super committee supported the proposal but sources declined to say which member or members disagreed.
It would include cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which the Democratic sources described as a major concession from their party. In return Republicans were asked to go along with between $1.2 and $1.3 trillion in new tax revenue.
Congressional Republicans have been nearly uniform in their opposition to new taxes, particularly during the economic downturn, and Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona, made that point during Baucus's presentation.
The GOP aide accused Democrats of leaking details of their offer to the press and said it is a clear sign Democrats believe the super committee will fail.
"It's because they know, or they think, or they believe this committee is going to fail," said the GOP aide who insisted on anonymity in order to discuss the highly sensitive negotiations. "So they need a marker saying this is where we are."
The GOP aide went on to say the development is a sign that the talks are "deadlocked" over the issue of whether or not tax increases should be part of a deficit reduction plan.
A Democratic aide close to the committee rejected the accusation that Democrats are the source of the leak.
“This is a serious proposal that includes real concessions by Democrats and the kind of balance that Americans support in a deal. It’s time for Republicans to face the fact that getting this done is going to mean setting their pledges to Grover Norquist aside, dropping the gimmicks, and making concessions on real revenues,” a Democratic aide said.
Democratic sources made a point to say that Tuesday's offer in the "super committee" was an attempt by Democratic members to reach for a 'big deal' and go beyond the $1.2 trillion in deficit savings required by the August debt ceiling agreement.
Multiple Democratic sources characterized the Democratic pitch as picking up where negotiations for a "grand bargain" between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner left off when talks fell apart in late July. During those negotiations the two leaders were discussing a deal that included more than $400 billion in Medicare and Medicaid cuts over 10 years and increased tax revenue of between $800 billion and $1.2 trillion.
The committee faces a fast-approaching deadline of November 23rd to reach agreement and vote on a deficit reduction deal of $1.2 trillion or more to avoid across-the-board "trigger" cuts that would go into effect in 2013.