GOP aides: Super-committee Republicans open to tax increases
November 8th, 2011
08:35 PM ET
11 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. ComSenseWiz

    After the supercommittee finishes shuckin' & jivin', no new revenue will happen and the auto-cuts will kick in. If 1.2 TRILLION over 10 years, that is a measly 120 BILLION deficit reduction from a budget deficit of about a TRILLION per year. It's a drop in the bucket; chump change. Even assuming Obama does not extend the Bush tax cuts again in Dec 2012, a virtual certainty at this point, that would still leave the deficit at almost 500 BILLION per year.

    In other words, we're not getting anywhere near a balanced budget even after the auto-cuts and the elimination of the Bush tax cuts. The reality is that Medicare benefits must be trimmed significantly, the retirement age for SS must be extended for future retirees, and the defense budget must get under 500 BILLION per year just for starters.

    Anyone who believes we can avoid another recession and stock market pounding is delusional. Ain't gonna happen.

    November 9, 2011 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  2. NameDamian

    I think some of these republicans have a screw loose!

    November 9, 2011 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  3. volksmaniac

    The repubs make a concession and the dems dismiss it . Who are the real obstructionists ? There are over twenty repub bills sitting in the senate right now , and the dems ( ala Harry Reid ) refuse to bring them up for debate or a vote . That is so they can continue to accuse the repubs of obstruction . Hypocrites .
    All Hail King Obama !!!!!

    November 9, 2011 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  4. BJ Bell

    I can't look at McConnell without comparing him to the "Scarecrow" in the Wizard of Oz - at least the "Scarecrow" finally got a brain, maybe you should visit Oz Mr. McConnell, the middle class just might be willing to help pay for the trip.

    Americans are past the point of people like McConnell "catering to the rich" - the tick has gotten bigger than the dog, time to get out the "flea and tick" dip.

    November 9, 2011 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  5. Dann DFW

    The GOP is always talking about how 40% of the population doesn't pay any federal income tax. Last time I look the Supreme Court said a corporation is a person so why are they opposed to closing loopholes that keep the corporate portion of the population from paying any federal income tax?

    November 9, 2011 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  6. mac3333

    Anything that lowers the marginal rate is a sham shell game. I say let the committee fail and we can save billions on wasteful defense spending.

    November 9, 2011 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  7. Franky

    HOw does that make any sense what so ever, we cut taxes in one place, and raise taxes in another. If you cut the marginal rate from 35% to 28% which would be dangerously low where do you expect to actually get extra revenue?

    November 9, 2011 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  8. lcleejr

    the republican party has made it clear, they protect the wealthy and big business only. if they are talking about a tax increase, we already know that means the middle class. they have no desire to do whats right for our country. its money from the wealthy and big business that gets them elected. they know and we know it.

    November 9, 2011 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  9. wgf

    So the Republicans propsed tax increases would reduce the tax rate for the highest earners from 35% to 28%. I swear, the entire party is living inside a Monty Python skit.

    November 9, 2011 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  10. Don

    Why would Democrats be skeptical? The GOP has only beat all of America over the head with their NO-Taxes pledge signed in blood to grover norquist. Its a sucker bet – the GOP will refuse even one penny of additional income tax on the wealthy and multinational corporations.

    November 9, 2011 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  11. scott

    Republican Ponzi Scheme. Same old Tired Tricks from the Republicans.

    November 9, 2011 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  12. John B

    So....they will accept tax increases as long as they also get significant new and bigger old deductions.

    November 9, 2011 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  13. Bill

    Unbelievable. As bloated as our government is and they still want more. What a load of bull. We are all doomed.

    November 9, 2011 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  14. racegirl1

    So the republicans in the super committee think we are that stupid? They take a little from the wealthy on one hand and give them bigger on the other hand. Pure bait and switch, I hope all of you are voted out November 2012. The middle class and poor are fed up and we want our country back. We are tired of counting our pennies for everything and the rich are counting their billions. NO MORE WE WANT DO NOTHING REPUBLICANS OUT OF OFFICE AND WILL GO DOOR TO DOOR TO DO THAT IN 2012. Then you can go to your billionaire employers for a job. ENOUGH SAID

    November 9, 2011 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  15. Fishes

    They are willing to put a tax increase on the table while cutting the tax rate on the wealthiest individuals by 20%?

    Do they pay no attention to the news and OWS movement? Seriously, do they really think people are that dumb?

    November 9, 2011 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  16. Get a job Hippies

    Look here is a solutions all lefties can get behind. Raise the bottom tax bracket to 100% if you have an R associated with yoru name. Anyone with a D gets their taxes lowered to 0%. Oh wait who am i kidding the democrats don't even bother to file tax returns so what is the difference.

    November 9, 2011 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
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