GOP aides: Super-committee Republicans open to tax increases
November 8th, 2011
08:35 PM ET
3 years ago

GOP aides: Super-committee Republicans open to tax increases

(CNN) - A mere two weeks before the congressional budget super committee's November 23 deadline, GOP members of the deficit-reduction panel have signaled a willingness to accept tax increases as part of a broader deficit reduction package, CNN learned Tuesday.

The development has the potential to break a deadlock within the sharply polarized 12-member group, as top Republicans have long been adamantly opposed to any tax hikes. A Senate GOP leadership aide called the shift a "significant concession" on the part of Republicans.

Democrats immediately rejected the offer, characterizing it as political gamesmanship.

The Republican proposal is based primarily on new limits on itemized tax deductions and credits for individuals, according to a Republican aide close to the discussions. The deduction for mortgage interest on second homes - a provision of the tax code used primarily by wealthier Americans - is one possible example, the aide said.

Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, helped to push the proposal during talks with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, aides said.

In exchange for the new revenue generated by closing the loophole, Republicans want Democrats to agree to lower the top marginal income tax rate for individuals from 35% to 28% according to two Democratic sources. Republicans are also looking for significant changes to entitlement programs, including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

One GOP aide asserted the Republican offer would generate hundreds of billions of dollars in new revenue, but refused to offer a specific figure.

"We are committed to doing what is needed to help avoid" automatic cuts, the aide said. "Their demand is tax increases have to be on the table, (and) that's something we're willing to look at."

Democrats quickly dismissed the offer, with aides calling it "not serious" and "a joke." Democrats accused their Republican counterparts of trying to shift blame for the stalled negotiations and disputed Republican claims their proposal would generate billions of dollars in new revenue.

"This plan would provide the very wealthiest American with one of the largest tax rate cuts ever. It's a shell game," one Democratic aide close to the committee told CNN. It is "a thinly veiled attempt to appear to put revenue on the table while simultaneously removing far more with massive tax cuts for wealthy Americans. This plan is not a solution Democrats or middle class Americans would ever be willing to accept."

"I've yet to see a real credible plan that raises revenue in a significant way to bring us to a fair and balanced proposal," said super committee co-chair Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, avoided directly addressing the question of new revenue.

"I can tell you with certainty that the six Republicans on the (super committee) want an outcome, do not believe failure is an option and we're working toward that end as diligently as we can," McConnell insisted.

The Republican leader said he suspects "folks down at the White House are pulling for failure."

"If the (super committee) succeeds, it steps on the story line that they have been peddling, which is that you can't do anything with the Republicans in Congress," he said.

The 12-member super committee is tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion deficit savings over the next 10 years. Assuming a majority on the panel can reach an agreement by November 23, Congress will vote on its recommendations by December 23.

–CNN's Deirdre Walsh, Alan Silverleib and Ted Barrett contributed to this story.


Filed under: Congress • Debt • Deficit commission
soundoff (141 Responses)
  1. Ernesto Gomez

    Totally misleading headline – how do you get "open to tax increases" from an offer to close loopholes in exchange for lower tax rates? This is not a a change in the Republican position at all, nor is it a serious offer to compromise.

    November 9, 2011 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  2. M.K.

    Beware of anything the Republicans propose. They are snakes in the grass and prove it every day. McConnell and Sessions and All the rest of the Republican Senators should be escorted by armed guards like the crooks they are. The whiny Sessions reminds me of the rich kid who said "if I can't pitch and bat clean up, I will take my ball and go home".

    November 9, 2011 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  3. Chuck

    How about a change that gurantees large corporations don't pay zero taxes.

    November 9, 2011 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  4. Chuck

    Typical Republican tactic: give a nickel, take a dollar and tell you it's a good deal for you and thier getting screwed.

    November 9, 2011 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  5. Nate (Seattle, WA)

    If Republicans think their "offer" isn't being taken seriously, it's their own fault. They were the ones who've been saying that no tax increases on anyone were on the table for the last couple years.

    That tends to make people a little skeptical from the outset, when you put forth proposals with tax increases, that are contingent upon big tax cuts for the rich.

    November 9, 2011 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  6. Bill

    The GOP is always open to tax hikes, as long as the aren't on rich people. Republican Congressman Paul Ryan himself said this when Obama proposed eliminating the Bush Tax cuts for millionaires during the debt ceiling talks. His counter proposal was to keep them for millionaires and make up the 4 trillion dollars it's costing us by raising the taxes on the lower and middle classes (and cutting Social Security and Medicare and other "unneeded" programs that rich people don't use).

    November 9, 2011 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  7. ahetch

    It's business as usual. Republicans still want the wealthy folks tax dropped from 35% to 28%. Also want 'significant changes to medicare, medicaid and social security

    November 9, 2011 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  8. Jason

    LOL...well, this is a funny article. Washington DC is like Tom & Jerry. I love it!

    November 9, 2011 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  9. Alan

    Wahaaa! How the lib/dems gonna eat the rich without a tax hike? Funny stuff. Maybe they just want to snack on the rich. Or perhaps nibble a bit.

    November 9, 2011 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  10. CBR

    While the politicians continue to waste time and money the American people are the losers. Where is the jobs bill? Where is the budget? Why are the elected members of Congress failing to do their jobs? Why are the members of Congress being paid and why are they accepting these paychecks when they have not worked toward passage of bills designed to get the economy moving and bolstering the middle class.

    These nice little messages being sent to constituents do not even mention the important issues. The Senator or Rep is shown smiling and telling of all his/her accomplishments. It is too bad that these accomplishments have not bolstered the economy. We do need to let them know we want action now and it must be action that is supported by both parties. It is time to work together regardless of who is President or who is running for President, We cannot wait any longer for these people to do the work they were elected to do.

    November 9, 2011 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  11. Mike

    Are these so-called tax increases put forth by the Republicans? What kind of compromise is that? Now if the tax proposals came from the Democrats and were accepted by the Republicans, then the Democrats should take some Republican proposals for cuts to entitlement programs. The Republican proposals always seem to be cuts for the wealthy and new taxes for the middle class. Same for all their 'flat tax' baloney. Besides, cuts to entitlements are equivalent to tax increases (higher expense) to the poor and middle calss. It's time to just cut republicans out of Congress.

    November 9, 2011 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  12. civilian soilder

    When will washington grow up and stop playing games

    November 9, 2011 02:57 am at 2:57 am |
  13. Ramrod

    Lawyers should be not be allowed to pass laws, it is a conflict of interest. As of now, this is a country of lawyers, run by lawyers for lawyers.

    November 9, 2011 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  14. Mike

    On the the tax issue, I'm tired of both parties. If there is to be an income tax then it needs to be fair across the board. Everyone pays the same percentage as everyone else with no exceptions, no deductions, credits or loop holes allowed for anyone.. I want those 43+ million families that do not pay a positive amount in Federal income taxes to pay their fair share. Enough is enough. If you don't make it fair do away with the income tax altogether and go with a flat national sales tax. There has been talk about simplifying the tax code for decades, it's long past time to do it.

    November 9, 2011 03:39 am at 3:39 am |
  15. jimatmadison

    The GOPers want to lower the top marginal rate?!? That's part of their tax 'concession'?!?!?!

    If you aren't a 1%er and you plan on voting GOP, you're a flippin' idiot.

    Bunchacrooks.

    November 9, 2011 03:45 am at 3:45 am |
  16. wcnea567

    Republican's offer is meaningless, at the end the rich will get more back. In order to solve our budget problem we have to go back to Clinton's tax structure. We had a balanced budget and budget surplus with that structure. Bush tax cuts destroyed every thing. Republicans in congress want to continue the destruction. Every single tax cut we had only brought us more deficit spending and borrrowing.

    November 9, 2011 03:56 am at 3:56 am |
  17. NumbersMan

    Who needs Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – THE 99%
    Who needs lower tax rate for individuals from 35% to 28% – THE 1%
    Who has the numbers to vote out an incumbent senator or congressman? THE 99%

    November 9, 2011 04:00 am at 4:00 am |
  18. Mike Terrel

    SO BASICALLY

    Republicans will agree to close a Tax Loophole....as long as Rich People (Job Creators) get a Big Tax Cut Permanently

    and Medicare and social security gets gutted

    sounds like a good plan to me ....because im a republican :)

    November 9, 2011 04:14 am at 4:14 am |
  19. Salami Abolade

    In my own opinion,US govt.should not try to increase tax but rather work on economy by creating wealth through job creation

    November 9, 2011 04:17 am at 4:17 am |
  20. Jer

    As always, it's the Republican's way, or the highway; with twists and turns, bumps and potholes. See that their "campaign financial backers" and their lobbyists are taken care of. They used us one day to elect them, then toss us into their fossil fuel pit. NO MORE!! Too bad our Congress wasn't included on 11/8/11's elections.

    November 9, 2011 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  21. Puppett Master

    Yes, I beleive that all the corporations benifiting from the "War for Oil" should have to pay for the War Mongering that they helped creeate. Here we fought these wars in the name of Oil and now we are set to be oil independent. TAX the people who benifited from these expensive wars, doing the Oil companies dirty work is not the job of the American Government

    November 9, 2011 04:29 am at 4:29 am |
  22. Coloradan

    Ok Mitch,Show us then. The Republicans seem to be committed seriously to just two things. Saying no to anything the President suggests and honoring some obscure agreements most of you made to some guy named Grover Norquist. The GOP can be taken seriously when they start demonstrating a commitment to the American people. Hundreds of thousands of Americans could be heading back to work if you had passed Obama's paid for jobs bill, but that might have made Grover angry. If you want to be taken seriously move beyond simply calculating how you can get more power and start solving problems.

    November 9, 2011 04:33 am at 4:33 am |
  23. Benjamin

    How irresponsible to ask to LOWER tax rates during a so-called deficit crisis. It's just not a serious proposal to give the rich another tax break, larger than the one they got a decade ago that started this whole fiscal mess.

    November 9, 2011 04:36 am at 4:36 am |
  24. Markap

    Instead of increasing taxes on the wealthy, why not just pass a law that requires businesses to bring back 10% of all jobs that have been outsourced, and curtail future outsourcing. This would increase jobs in the US and solve the housing crisis at the same time. People who have jobs buy houses. The extra cost of providing jobs here in lieu of paying more taxes is a trade off in terms of dollars, and targets the problems in the US economy.

    November 9, 2011 04:56 am at 4:56 am |
  25. truth

    anyone who believes the republicans will tax the wealthy without a back door or front door give away to them at the same time are sadly mistaken. there is nothing genuine about them saying they are open to tax revenue. it is a political ploy because they realize that the tide is turning and they are starting to look like what they are, class warriors for the wealthy. but they cloud the issue by saying that democrats are the ones committing economic class wars. you are a fool if you vote for republicans and are not wealthy. you vote against your own self-interest and are too stupid to understand what you are doing. open your eyes and see who they (republicans) really legislate for...

    November 9, 2011 05:03 am at 5:03 am |
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