Top Senate Democrat belittles 'phony' GOP tax concessions
November 10th, 2011
03:36 PM ET
2 years ago

Top Senate Democrat belittles 'phony' GOP tax concessions

Washington (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dismissed a recent GOP deficit reduction plan Thursday, saying it isn't a serious attempt at compromise despite the tax increases it includes.

Asked if he was encouraged by negotiations among members of the congressional "super committee" that is trying to forge a debt-reduction agreement, the Nevada Democrat curtly told CNN: "With that phony deal the Republicans offered? No."

In a separate interview with CNN, the panel's Republican co-chairman appeared disturbed when told about Reid's comments, and indicated he thinks it is increasingly apparent the Senate majority leader does not want to help broker a deal.

"If (Reid) wants to be helpful he can be helpful," said Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas. "If he doesn't want to be helpful, apparently he's not going to be helpful."

Members of the 12-member super committee have until November 23 to reach an agreement on at least $1.2 trillion in savings over the next decade. If they do so, Congress will vote on the package before Christmas.

If a majority on the panel - composed of six Democrats and six Republicans - fails to reach an agreement, significant automatic spending cuts are scheduled to take effect starting in 2013.

Earlier Thursday, Hensarling insisted congressional Republicans had made "major" concessions on taxes, and criticized his Democratic counterparts for allegedly failing to make a similar move by proposing cuts in popular entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

"This is not part of a blame game," the congressman told reporters. But "the (major) drivers" of Washington's skyrocketing spending are Medicare and Medicaid, and "unless we fundamentally address that we will fail in our statutory duty."

Negotiators "remain hopeful," Hensarling insisted. "The stakes are too high for our economy to just throw up our hands."

Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, also a super committee member, insisted that members of his party are working with the Republicans.

"We are talking together. We are negotiating. It is ongoing," Baucus said. "Any statement that we've broken off is not true. It is not true. We are working together."

While Republicans claim Democrats are failing to give ground on entitlements, Democrats say Republicans haven't done nearly enough to help generate new revenue from the wealthy.

Republicans led by Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania put forward a blueprint earlier this week that would cap individual deductions while cutting all six income tax rates by roughly 20%. Under the proposal, the top rate would fall from 35% to 28%.

Toomey's proposed cap on deductions represents a notable shift for congressional Republicans, who have traditionally opposed anything that might increase tax payments.
The $1.4 trillion GOP plan includes $500 billion in new revenue, according to a Republican aide.

While Reid appeared to dismiss the plan on Thursday, the Senate's second-highest ranking Democrat, Richard Durbin of Illinois, told reporters on Wednesday that the GOP's willingness to put tax increases on the table was a "breakthrough."

Democrats on the panel have countered with a $2.3 billion deficit reduction package, including $1 trillion in tax revenue, $1 trillion in spending cuts, and $300 billion in interest savings, according to a copy of the plan obtained by CNN.

Democrats pushed earlier for $1.3 trillion in new revenue.

– CNN's Kate Bolduan and Alan Silverleib contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Congress • Debt • Deficit • Harry Reid • Republicans • Taxes
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    Cutting entitlements and revenue by the same proportion don't solve the problem. This is a meaningless proposal.

    November 10, 2011 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Tell it like it is,Harry!

    November 10, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  3. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    Complete GOBP deathcult manure and snake oil. Those anti-American 1%ers seem to think they can fool regular Americans into believing they are serious by proposing MORE and deeper tax cuts for the filthy rich in exchange for them giving mortgage deductions on their 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th homes. No thanks, we're not buying your BS.

    OWS!

    November 10, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  4. Name

    Of course its phony- its the gamers wanting to play. No thanks. Too lopsided-Again. Read our lips- balanced approach. Such a novel concept to the useless Rs. What to do with the Magoos. They just dont get it

    November 10, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. Voice of Reason

    The GOP proposes a miniscule tax hike – and in the same breath proposes ten times more tax cuts. They know it's not viable. They're not fooling anyone.

    Also – according to this bizzarro-world logic: It's OK to remove a bunch of deductions, effectively raising the tax on middle-class Americans, but at the same time we're going to drop the income tax on the top bracket by 20%.

    And these are the same people who UNANIMOUSLY VOTED NO on raising the tax on the folks making more than $1million PER YEAR by 0.05% so we can keep teachers, firefighters and police on the job.

    Get your broom out – cause 2012 is gonna be a sweep!

    November 10, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain

    Oh course, the GOP tax concessions are phony! The GOP's stated #1 goal is to make President Obama a one-term president – and if they have to sink the economy to do it, then by golly, they will!

    November 10, 2011 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. Voice of Reason

    The biggest lie perpetrated on the American people in a generation is that when the rich get richer, the rest of us are better off.

    Every credible study shows that is false, yet the machine that allows the people with the most money (lobbying, campaign donations, etc) to make the rules, keeps grinding on, spreading this defective dogma over and over...

    November 10, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain

    Dear 1% folks and corporate entities: If you bankrolled a company for 10 years and they didn't deliver on what they said they would accomplish when you gave them the money, you'd cut them off and want your money back, right?

    Well, that's what the American taxpayer did with the 10 years of Bush tax cuts. The 1% and corporations said that if we gave them these tax cuts (and deregulated, to boo), they'd create jobs. They haven't – and instead of giving them even more money to not create jobs, the tax cuts must end and their tax rate must go up a few percents to repay us our money.

    End of story.

    November 10, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  9. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Everyone has their opinion and is entitled to it. I judt think that the GOP has to come further than the Democrats because of the extention of the Bush tax cuts (which should never have been done because they were never paid for). We need to have some sober discussion about the "entitlement programs" like Social Security. People also need to realize that the wealthy aren't really doing enough with their money and should be paying more to pay down the debt. There is more that could be done than just this.

    November 10, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  10. NVa Native

    Typical Repubs demand everything go their way while offering a token compromise won't cut it. It has to be equal sacrifice on both sides. Dems give up an equal percentage of what the Repubs will give up. Letting the GOP control things is how we ended up with this broken economy.

    November 10, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  11. Tom

    @TheRealTomPaine – No one is proposing cutting revenue. But you have to cut entitlements. We are on an unsustainable path.

    November 10, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  12. conservativeforAmerica

    Do any of you even know how the economy works? Obviously not so let me take the liberty of explaining it to you! Do you not realize that those 1 per centers you keep talking already pay almost 50 percent of this countries taxes? So yeah let's make them pay more. That is not the answer you have to eliminate all these loop hole in the tax code and everyone has to pitch in. You know that idiot Warren Buffet wants more taxes because he doesn't pay them in the first place he hires all these hot shot lawyers and accountants to find the loop holes. You can raise taxes all you want but until you fix the real problem which is the tax code itself it does not matter! Plus if a business has more money do you know what they are 10 times more likely to do? Of course you don't because you are narrow minded they will expand and hire more people or give raises to the ones they already employee and what does that do ladies and gents? It generates more revenue!!!! If you raise taxes they are just going to charge more for their goods and services and get by with fewer employees and what does that do? It costs you revenue I know this complicated to understand while you are holding that couch down and eating some doritos but that how it works. So you keep thinking you can raise taxes on the people that employee you and make the things you consume on a daily basis and see where that gets you! Idiots!

    November 10, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  13. Mikey

    If it is 35% new taxes, it may be worth talking about – as long as it's not on the middle class and poor.

    They should be able to find $1.2T in revenue increases alone in over 10 years from the top 5%. Add at least $3T in spending reductions beginning in 2013 or 2014 and then we have something. Don't start the spending decreases too soon. It would choke off the fledgling recovery.

    November 10, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  14. Democrat Party - leftist "progressive" socialist communist losers hellbent on destroying the USA

    Well, if it isn't DO NOTHING HARRY REID commenting about others trying to get something done.... Nevada, how could you have done this to the rest of the country?!!

    November 10, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. A. Goodwin

    Capping deductions is meaningless to the majority of Americans who dont make enough money to even HAVE deductions! And the rich people who do have deductions will find a loophole around that.

    November 10, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  16. Ezequias

    Let's confiscate 100% of the wealth of the rich and then throw the party of the century! Unfortunately in 24 hours we will be starving...

    November 10, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  17. Independent Voters

    Republican stop playing games with american people we going to vote all the republicans out of office.

    November 10, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  18. demogoat

    I am sick of subsidizing the massive build up of wealth though the tax code for the upper 1%. We should smash the current tax code and all of its loop holes that have caused all of these problems. We need an all out attack on the senators and congressmen that signed Grover Norguist pledge. We are not stealing from the upper 1%. It is all starting to come out how Cheney and Norquist and the GOP have starved the beast and made the rich, way richer. Wake up, lets take it to em.

    November 10, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  19. d

    The gop are theives...phony plan is right! they want this to fail they want america to fail. that is what this about

    November 10, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  20. sonny chapman

    Hey conservativeforamerica, how do you explain the Clinton Economy which so record growth with no inflation & the "Job Creators" paying 39% Income Tax ?

    November 10, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  21. Ezequias

    Nobody ever paid 39% under Clinton...with the deductions, etc if any "rich people" got to pay 25% there might be a statue for him or her somewhere...

    November 10, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. Rickster

    Of course Harry Reid said that.....the democrats have no intention of coming to an agreement. They are just going to let this joke of a "supercommittee" fail so they can run out and blame the republicans. They do it all the time with spending cuts, budgets and jobs bills that the republicans have proposed....and they know they can get away with it because democrats are so stupid they believe whatever the useless Harry Reid, or looney Nancy Pelosi or President Failure tells them.

    November 10, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. Democrat Party - leftist "progressive" socialist communist losers hellbent on destroying the USA

    The reason we have a revenue shortage is because half the people in this country PAY NOTHING. Even worse, half of that half, GET MONEY from the government in bogus tax credits. 5% of our population cannot be expected to carry 95% on their backs.

    The Democrat welfare state is a failure. Greece is their model. How are they doing?

    November 10, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  24. Dan5404

    Durbin is right, and so is Reid. The GOP has its' back to a wall and have broken pledges with Norquist and every one of their candidates. However, their first proposal is less than the Democrats' and is far less revenue than needed. At least they are realizing their jobs depend on approving a reasonable tax package. Now, they just need to compromise on one that is reasonable.

    November 10, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. Ezequias

    conservativeforAmerica !!! your comments have big problems like: logic, common sense and a strong connection with the reality of things. Don't ever try this again in the presence of subsidize-me-forever-socialists !

    November 10, 2011 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
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