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. Monbois

    I swear, these Republicans really are vampires. Okay, lower the top marginal income tax rate for individuals from 35% to 28% for anyone making less than $100,000 a year. What? That's not fair to anyone making more than $100k? Awe! They won't be able to console themselves with a new 52" flatscreen TV and an iPad? Wait a second! Yes they will! Cuz they'll still make more than almost everyone around them!

    And the Republicans want to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Well, sure! They're rich and they're biggest donars are rich so they don't need these programs! Yeah! Let's cut 'em! But then again, they want to do away with Obama's health care plan, too, so there'll be no way at all for the elderly to pay for their medical bills, so they're families will have to go broke paying for their many prescriptions and hospital visits. What's that, Republicans? Make the elderly go back to work? That's a great idea!! Who needs to retire and be a burden on the state when you can keep working into your seventies, your eighties... What the hay! Just work until you drop dead! The super-rich need all the cheap labor they can get!

    Which is why they keep their lapdogs in Congress well funded to make sure they get it.

    November 8, 2011 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  2. Poopie Head

    The same old outcomes regardless of who's running things.

    November 8, 2011 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  3. chris

    tax increase is not the same as closing loopholes.

    November 8, 2011 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  4. Big John

    Typical. I know Republicans think the wealthy pay too much, but the reality is, we need serious reform to education and work ethic in this country. Until the government swallows its pride, pays off the debt, and begins the reform, we need their revenue. Even if they begin an aggressive change now, we still won't see positive sesults for years. The longer they wait, the more painful it's going to be to lance this particular boil.

    November 8, 2011 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  5. Frank

    The Republicans have way too many people brainwashed, making them believe that tax breaks for the rich are necessary as they are the job creators. While the wealthy received tax breaks and enjoyed taking advantage of loopholes for the past 30 years, all the jobs have gone elsewhere in the world! Wake up these greedy Republicans out !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 8, 2011 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  6. Chris, Austin

    Interesting. When I initially read this, I thought it was a joke, too. Eliminate mortgage deductions, devaluing American homes even further, in exchange for a ma$$ive tax cut for the wealthy? That's like offering to kick the middle cla$$ in the knee, and in exchange, you'll also slap them in the face. Great idea, really, well thought out. Clearly, the folks that put this deal on the table think American voters are colossally stupid.

    Like American voters in Ohio, Maine, Mississippi. Who perhaps are not as stupid as some people think they are, and have taken today to demonstrate that. And, who are also not as blindly partisan as some people think, seeing as how Ohio voters killed a union busting law and voted against the health care mandate in the same election.

    November 8, 2011 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  7. Joe Brown

    Oh wait – not funny at all.

    November 8, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  8. Truth Dealer

    The math is starting to out pace the GOP rhetoric ! You need revenue to make a dent on anything , it's just that simple ! The Bush Tax cut's haven't created anything but deficit's ! I don't blame the Dem's for being skeptical here because the GOP is full of stunt pulling politician's ! I would double check anything they are doing !

    November 8, 2011 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  9. Peter Wolfe

    Neither party in my opinion are doing the american people any sort of justice with these childish games. It is my honest opinion that progressive taxation is the best taxation, however, taxing a broader area of th population is also helpful to show shared sacrifice. This should be presumedly on fast food, soda, snacks, butter, and other fat and sale goods to discourge over use of these products but also increase revenue at the same time. So, I think that there should be a small sales tax nationally only on things that should be discouraged on a national level.

    November 8, 2011 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  10. John

    The Republican better wise up because the American People are feed up with there crap.

    November 8, 2011 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  11. LJTurner

    The Republicans will NEVER agree to anything that will help the middle class, period. They need to look at the results of today's election and get their heads out of the sand, or they'll be going bye-bye next year.

    November 8, 2011 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  12. Brad

    We must protect our wealthiest citizens. Why should the one-percenturds suffer on the backs of the poor or middle-class? After all, look at all the jobs they're creating! If it weren't for the dribble-down of the super wealthy, we'd all just wither and die. We should be happy that they're allowing us to even live. We should probably be paying them for each breath we take. And let's stop all these crazy regulations that are holding the big corporations hostage. How can they make billions in profits if they're supposed to follow the same rules as the low-life middle-class and poor scum.

    November 8, 2011 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  13. M-Theory

    Let it run out: Defense budget slashed. Military votes Democrat. No wars to waste money on. Essential public programs and essential defense still intact. Republican congress looks like a failure promoting wealthy interests above the populous. Republicans will suffer in elections. Let it run out.

    November 8, 2011 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  14. BeverlyNC

    Don't trust them Democrats. Republicans have done nothing but lie and obstruct ALL legislation to create jobs, restore the economy, pay down the debt, and then laugh at how they fooled us for trusting them.
    Republicans were defeated all over the nation tonight and this shows the People know the lies and games Republican play while betraying We the People. We will celebrating a total Republican landslide removal from every seat in Congress next November. The Republican Party destroyed itself by selling themselves to corrupt corporations and greedy rich men like the Koch brothers. Despite their voter suppression laws and other election fraud – we beat them and we will remove ALL these Republican traitors next November. Republicans will learn our Constitution does not say "We the Corporations..." as our unethical Republican Supreme Court said but it starts "WE THE PEOPLE,...." and We the People will rule, will vote, and will rid America of those who sit and do nothing, who lie to us, who try to destroy us in every way, with every program, and obstrut all help President Obama had tried to bring us. ALL DEMOCRATS in 2012 and America will again flourish!!!!! Obama is the real leader and the real fighter for ALL Americans. OBAMA 2012. What a great night for America tonight – the PEOPLE won huge victories.

    November 8, 2011 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  15. blake

    The party of NO once again rejects a very reasonable proposal from the GOP.

    November 8, 2011 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  16. Vic Romano

    GOP wants tax hikes on the middle class to support yet another massive tax cut for the richest of the rich. How much longer can the GOP stick it to the 99% before people wise up?

    November 8, 2011 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  17. Superhappyfunslide

    At this point I do not care what they do as long as they work together

    November 9, 2011 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  18. Dixie

    Thanks republicans for yet again proposing a tax cut for the wealthy, and be sure to cut SS and Medicare, the rich don't need it. We middle class folks will get along somehow.

    November 9, 2011 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  19. Irene

    It's a Trojan horse. Don't believe anything a republican has to say – EVER!!!!!

    November 9, 2011 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  20. Dixie

    When this super panel fails, (and I think it will) Republicans will say that they offered to raise tax revenues, but Dems refused. Hope that military cut happens. Bring our troupes home from Afghanistan. We've got border problems here that they can solve.

    November 9, 2011 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  21. monogopapenog

    What a stupid article. Stating there is potential for a breakthrough when Democrats state there is no way the suggested revenue increases would come about says just the opposite.

    Why would these twelve morons have any more success in achieving the stated goals when they can't get it done in the normal manner.

    Just more monkey business going on in D.C.

    November 9, 2011 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  22. GimeeABreak

    The Republicans have agreed to tax hikes to break the deadlock and sort out the deficit problem. That's really good.

    The Dems have REFUSED it on the grounds that it is "gamesmanship"

    Those idiot Dems are wetting their pants in case the Republicans get ANY credit for a good move. All along , the Dems have s0dded about making it look as though the Repubs were the bnlocking problem. I hope the Dem supporters start facing facts. THEY are the party of "no"

    Imagine anyone refusing an offer like that from the Republicans !!!!! It beggars belief.

    November 9, 2011 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  23. Aaron

    Just more smoke and mirrors from the Repubs. Their plans, as usual, will decrease taxes on the rich, put more on the middle class.

    November 9, 2011 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  24. Sphy

    But only if it's a tax hike on the middle class.

    November 9, 2011 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  25. Dan

    Are Americans stupid? or just plain ignorant. For the last 20 or so years (That I can clearly remember) republican politicians have put policies that benefit the wealthy 1% of the country exponentially compared to the rest. Yet, the very same people republicans screw end up reelecting them. We should be putting more money for education, not cutting them, to keep the masses educated and informed.

    November 9, 2011 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
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