'Super committee' steps up negotiations, Boehner pushes for deal
October 27th, 2011
04:17 PM ET
2 years ago

'Super committee' steps up negotiations, Boehner pushes for deal

Washington (CNN) - As Democrats and Republicans on the "super committee" exchanged competing plans to slash the deficit, House Speaker John Boehner said he's opposed to the automatic spending cuts that would go into effect if the panel can't reach a compromise and is committed to getting a deal done by the deadline.

"I think it's important for the 'super committee' to meet its goal," Boehner said Thursday, making it clear any form of the so-called "trigger" to cut government spending is not acceptable.

In closed door meetings this week Republicans and Democrats on the twelve member bipartisan panel stepped up negotiations, putting specific offers on the table. The panel is tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit savings over the next ten years. But in both cases these latest proposals, which may simply reflect opening salvos after weeks of discussions, relied on components that have kept political parties on Capitol Hill at loggerheads for years. Democrats stressed tax increases and Republicans offered deeper spending cuts and changes to entitlement programs.

Democrats on Tuesday offered a $3 trillion package that included $1.3 trillion in tax increases in return for entitlement reforms that would save as much as $500 billion over ten years.

Republicans promptly rejected that proposal. Boehner dismissed the $1.3 trillion in revenue that Democrats' plan used to cover half of the package, saying, "I don't think it's a reasonable number."

But repeatedly pressed if the GOP could accept any new revenue as part of a deal, Boehner did not answer directly, but appeared careful not to rule anything out, saying only "I'm committed to getting to an outcome."

In Wednesday's closed door session GOP members of the panel gave their counter offer - a $2.2 trillion plan. Their proposal provided for $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, including $785 billion in savings from changes to entitlement programs, a much deeper figure than Democrats proposed. The GOP offering, according to a Republican source, does not include any new tax increases, but counts on sales of federal assets, new money from selling off government controlled spectrum, and an increase in some federal user fees to come up with roughly $400 billion in revenue.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said the size of the GOP package "is not enough." She criticized Republicans adding significant spending cuts she said could hurt the sluggish economy, noting "everybody has said be careful how you cut and when you cut because you may destroy the momentum for economic growth that we need to have as we go forward."

But Boehner argued the majority of the budgets cuts should come from savings from reforms to Medicare and Medicaid programs that Democrats have been reluctant to change significantly.

"I think when you look at what's yet to be done by the super committee almost all of that's going to fall in the area I think of mandatory spending, which is more than two-thirds of the budget and it's time for us to do our work there," Boehner said.

One possible scenario is that the "super committee" would release its plan with an overall number for deficit reductions, but direct relevant Congressional committees to work out any details for the complicated task of tax reform.

Boehner backed this notion, saying Thursday, "I've never believed that the 'super committee' could rewrite the tax code. I think that's the appropriate role of the committee process in the House and Senate, and I would expect it would stay that way."

But both sides agree the clock is ticking and time is short for the joint select committee to come out with its recommendations.

A group of about 100 House members, almost evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans is circulating a letter they plan to release next week that urges the panel to aim for a large deficit reduction deal on the order of $4 trillion.

Boehner admitted the issues are tough, telling reporters Thursday, "I'm not surprised that we're having some difficulty because this isn't easy."

The deadline for a vote on a plan in the "super committee" is November 23rd, but Pelosi appeared impatient, saying, "let's just get right to it. I don't know why we have to go until the 23rd."

–CNN's Ted Barrett contributed to this report


Filed under: Congress • Debt • Deficit commission
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. bearced

    Why is defense never on the table??? We spend more than the rest of the world combined!!! Just eliminating waste and redundancy at the DOD would help a lot.

    October 27, 2011 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Rove tells his sheeple, that if they want to eliminate social security, medicare, VA benefits, the post office, government safety regulations, they need to tell teabaggers that they want to end socialism. Tea baggers are not bright and will do anything to shoot themselves in the foot.

    October 27, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. gerald quimby

    As long as republicans put their party ahead of the country nothing will will be done in congress. The plan of opposing all things Obama to gain politically is treasonous.

    October 27, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Boner can't round up enough votes from republicans to pass anything in the house. He has to be the most inept barfly to ever be put in a position of leadership.

    October 27, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. Democrat Party - leftist "progressive" socialist communist losers hellbent on destroying the USA

    Cutting $400 BILLION is an 11.5% cut. That will save $4 TRILLION of REAL MONEY over the next 4 years. Cut the budgets of ALL agencies by 11.5%. There is at LEAST that amount in waste fraud and abuse in all these depts.

    October 27, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    How can republicans be so wrong for so long?

    October 27, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. Ed DFWTX

    John Boehner said he's opposed to the automatic spending cuts! John Boehner and his "do nothing" GOP controlled Congress is opposed to everything, especialy anything that Obama proposes. Hopefully next year we will have a larger voter turnout than we had in 2010 and boot all the tea baggers, including Boehner, Cantor, Ryan and rest of the GOP obstructionist out of office. Then, maybe we can have a functional & working government for a change.

    October 27, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    I know how to cut one trillion dollars in one decade. Get rid of the most egregious of the corporate tax loopholes. Like the one where they can deduct foreign taxes off of their US obligations, which is totally ridiculous that such a thing is even on the books.

    Why should my tax dollars pay for the foreign taxes of Corporation X, which has moved its' manufacturing overseas so that it can be tax-free thanks to the loophole, instead of fixing up our infrastructure, rehiring policmen and teachers laid off as a result of a budget gap created by tax cuts to the wealthy? Why? Because plutocrats have taken over. Wake up, people. They are making their final push to take everything.

    October 27, 2011 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    There are a lot of similarities between the republicans and the 26th of July Movement.

    October 27, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  10. chill

    I understand that with SS and medical coverage amounting to 2/3 of the budget, that they will need to be modified. But this reluctance to inconvenience the wealthiest tax payers and dump the burden for the deficit onto the poor and elderly is breathtaking in its arrogance. No tax revenue increases; no deal. Pull the trigger.

    October 27, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. V in Chicago

    You know this is going to be drug out to the last minute and then an "extension" will be given. The ONLY way to change this craziness is to show up to the polls in 2012 and vote out everyone who refused to compromise. Republican or Democrat – with the emphasis on Republican/Teapartiers. The madness has to stop.

    PLEASE – LET'S DO WHAT WE DID IN 2008 AND SHOW WASHINGTON WE ARE TIRED OF THIS CRAP. VOTE. NO MATTER HOW YOU VOTE, JUST VOTE AND VOTE OUT ANYONE WHO DOES NOT HAVE YOUR BEST INTEREST IN MIND!!!

    October 27, 2011 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. RINO Bil

    Then John, get some of those useless Republicans on the Supercommittee to agree to some sort of tax increase. The budget can't be balanced just by spending cuts alone, we need to attack the deficit from both ends and a tax increase is mandatory. If the committee fails to reach and agreement and spending is slashed (putting even more Americans out of work), you can be damn certain the majority of American voters will see the Republican Tea Party as the cause and the Dems will reap the benefits of a pissed-off electorate in '12.

    October 27, 2011 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  13. V in Chicago

    Cantor and Bohner HAVE TO GO!!!

    October 27, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. Bruce

    Perhaps they should just dissolve the super committee and form a super-duper committee.

    That will solve the problem...

    October 27, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. Tony in Maine

    SS & Medicare do not come out of general tax revenues. The reason they figure into the budget is because the thieves in Congress use those funds as a piggy bank to keep from running the deficit out past the moon. They want to cut SS & Medicare to keep their private stash from going to the people who paid into it.

    I hate to say it, but most in Congress are made of the stuff that makes hay grow.

    October 27, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  16. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I have a neighbor with a huge mortgage, he is paying for two cars, and he just put a bumper sticker on one of them that reads, "I have to live within my means, why doesn't the president?"

    October 27, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. scs8815

    IF congress can get a 4 trillion deal made that covers both tax reform and spending cuts(which it has to be both everyone must feel some pain) the i believe that America will be moving forward looking to the future and not the past/present.

    October 27, 2011 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  18. Andrew

    So... Dems offer a plan where they concede their cuts to entitlement for tax increases. GOP says no then offers less of a deal adding taking more from reform and no taxes?

    Im sorry but that tells us everything we need to know.

    October 27, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  19. bipar08

    the so called super committee doesn't look like it can do any better then the do nothing congress
    out with them all

    October 27, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  20. Donkey Party

    Can't wait for civil war to erupt, since it's blatantly obvious that is what the GOP-baggers are pushing for. The good news is that they and their supporters would become extinct when and if a civil war breaks out. Corporations may be "people" to the right-wing, but they sure as hell can't put boots on the ground like real people. I'm a combat veteran, and this isn't the America I sustained a catastrophic injury for. I want my country back from the fascist, America-hating GOP-baggers who have destroyed the country for the last 30 years or more.

    October 27, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  21. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Why are republicans in favor of unjust wars adding to our nation debt, but think that putting people to work is too costly?

    October 27, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    @Donkey Party – Thank you for your service. God bless you.

    October 27, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. Carl In reality

    Push the issue. We sould not have approved TARP or Bailouts to AIG. We are a 2% family and are willing to pay our share – if entitlements and new revenues help our Nation. We are demanding that the President and Democrats stand firm to crush this silly pledge to Grover. The only pledge should be that to alligance. Republicans are sabotaging our economy.

    October 27, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  24. Ben Dover

    If there is no deal made ALL in congress should lose their pay and benefits tell one is made!!
    See how long these clowns last! LOL!

    October 27, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  25. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I do not trust Ray E (Georgia)

    October 27, 2011 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
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