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. Lynn

    The article fails to mention that R;s want to make the Bush tax cuts their $300 billion concession is paltry at best.

    November 8, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  2. John

    More smoke and mirrors from the GOP. Super committee is total waste of time and money.....

    November 8, 2011 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  3. no more comittees

    that is what happens when you give too much power to a small group. the super committee was a DUMB idea. we have CONGRESS for a reason. No czars. No committees. Make these morons do their job for once and stop with the pathetic little committees that create more and more and more and more spending programs. Progressives wanks.

    November 8, 2011 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  4. JHA in TEXAS

    Republican SuperCommittee members want to make Bush Tax Cuts for Wealthy PERMANENT! GOP open to tax revenue increase! - CRAPOLA! Republicans are just playing with words, they do not touch Capital Gains, Hedge Funds or Estate Taxes, Republicans are just playing games! This is just GOP Marketing, trying to improve their image of hurting US Economy for political gain ! Republican Do Nothing Congress strikes again in their desire to defeat all of President Obama proposed job legislation to get unemployed Americans back to full employment! Republican Do Nothing Congress is killing the US economy!

    November 8, 2011 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain

    "This plan would provide the very wealthiest American with one of the largest tax rate cuts ever. It's a shell game."

    Yep, and that's all the Repubs have ever had. All their economic, military and foreign policies are PROVEN FAILURES, so they rely on smoke-and-mirrors, anger, fear, hatred and division to get their way. Lord knows they don't have a record of accomplishment to run on!

    Republicans are a pathetic bunch of loser who, IMHO, are completely anti-American, more than willing to harm our nation and her people in their efforts to regain political power.

    November 8, 2011 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  6. SecedingfromTexas

    "...a deduction for mortgage interest on SECOND homes"...."lower top marginal income tax rate for individuals from
    35% to 28%"....are "significant concessions."..??????????????
    Somebody please explain this, I don't understand it, and admittedly I am no financial guru.

    November 8, 2011 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  7. Chuck

    I guess the GOP is willing to break their vow not to raise taxes as long as it's middle class taxes being raised and not the rich. And they accuse Obama of class warfare, they are making it class warfare when they so openly legislate for the 1%.

    November 8, 2011 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  8. Mr. Kenneth

    First,the republican will not let anything on the table that will make the president look good.The republican want their ideology to be the only on in the world.I look at the republican party,an let me know sounds like to me.The speaker of the house want everone in the gop want thing to be their way.The citzens want people to stop playing game. We want0 u to be truthful.

    November 8, 2011 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  9. jack

    wait, a curb on (already restricted) second home mortages deductions for a 7 percent cut in taxes? Even Romney and McCain would come out WAY ahead. You'd have to have the Taj Mahal as a second house for that switch not to pay off. Maybe

    November 8, 2011 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  10. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    The GOBP deathcult proposal is DOA. They want to double down on their proven policy failure by LOWERING the rates for the filthy rich, and the the cult members claim to make up for it by not allowing mortgage interest deduction on their 2nd and 3rd homes. This is utter manure and anyone with half a brain and knowledge of math will recognize this.

    November 8, 2011 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  11. GOP is tanking the economy to defeat Pres. Obama, but he's winning.

    The GOP Tea Party is protecting the 1% while tanking the economy for the other 99%. The election 2012 will sweep these greedy Wall ST GOP out to sea. Pres.Obama will win re-election.

    November 8, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  12. John

    If the GOP thinks a super compromise would hurt Obama then why don't they get a serious deal?

    November 8, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  13. Larry L

    Republicans work to protect the rich. They want token trivial tax hikes for everybody but place the burden of spending cuts on the back of the middle class. Same old game...

    November 8, 2011 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  14. Sassypants

    Republicans shame America. That's it. They are reprehensible humans.

    November 8, 2011 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  15. Former Republican, now an Independent

    If these republicans were open to any type of cooperation, it would have shown up over the last 18 months. They remain the party of NO. No help, no new ideas, no consideration for Americans who earn less than $1,000,000 per year.

    November 8, 2011 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  16. Lee

    Hopefully they do not strike any deal as then the steep automatic cuts then go into action!!!

    November 8, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  17. Evan

    my god something might actually get done, this cannot be real.

    November 8, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  18. Henry Miller

    If the Dems are so eager to raise taxes, why not start with the dead-beats who pay no federal taxes at all?

    November 8, 2011 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Why aren't Credit Unions Taxed on Profits

    November 8, 2011 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  20. Galveton

    REALLY? How does cutting out deductions on 2nd home interest payments balance out lowering the top tax rate by 7%? CAN YOU BE ANY MORE TRANSPARENT?!?!?

    November 8, 2011 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  21. Cody

    Raising taxes +1 then subtracting 5 is not raising taxes, that is a cut of 4.

    Do Republican's really think Americans are too stupid to understand simple math?

    November 8, 2011 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |

    No way Grover Norquist, the republican God is going to allow them to do that. He'll unleash the twelve plagues or something like that to turn around the non-believers

    November 8, 2011 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  23. T'sah from Virginia

    ►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. ◄

    Okay – so that is ONE of the proposals and it for RICH who have more than one home NOT being able to take interest credits.......................WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Really???? So what are the other credits that would be cut – Earned Income Credit – Child Tax Credit – Drop the "itemized Deduction" down to what???????????

    It's a smoke screen and should be carefully scrutinized – the Republicans are scary people and have hidden agenda under their sleeves!!!

    Obama 2012

    November 8, 2011 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  24. Satan

    Why don't we just get rid of almost all politicians and two times a year have a public vote on laws for the people to decide. The people could vote for what tax rates to enforce and the people could also vote on legalizing drugs, prostitution, gambling and other things. It's too bad America is not a democracy where majority rules.

    November 8, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  25. ddrew78

    Sounds like Republicans may be getting their hearing back. Also this may or may not be a simple political ploy, it would be a start. Once they agree to tax hikes, we can start a serious discussion. I commend Republicans for having the backbone to stand up to Norquist and his cohorts, but now the real test comes: Are they going to be willing to hike taxes that are needed, or will they stick to their usual gimmicks?

    This is a real chance for the GOP to regain some credibility with the populus, they just have to make the smart move next.

    November 8, 2011 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
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