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. phil

    Super committee, that's like jumbo shrimp, oxymoronic.

    November 9, 2011 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  2. alan

    I'm confused. I thought the GOP were against all tax hikes. On another note, I doubt there is a single rich person paying anywhere near a 35% tax rate after they take advantage of all the loop holes.

    November 9, 2011 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  3. Walter

    All those years of those laughable libs sqauwking that Republicans were the "party of no." Now we know better. All the libs have to fall on back is lambasting Republicans for not taxing the rich. Even when the right suggests exactly what they scream about, they still say no. Pathetic.

    November 9, 2011 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  4. Atteckus

    If Republicans are really serious about putting tax hikes on the table, let's see them approve a top tax rate of 45%, eliminate the Bush-era rate reductions on dividends and capital gains, and close the corporate tax loopholes that have massively profitable companies, like GE, paying no federal income taxes. All of the Bush-era tax cuts are the cause of our poor economy. They incentivize investment income rather than work income and business profits. If you want to create jobs, take away the incentive for the rich to sit on their investments. Make them risk it for business profits instead.

    November 9, 2011 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  5. Peg

    Well – it still signals that an increase in revenue is on the table – so they need to hammer something out – now – who cares what the initial deal was – the words "revenue" and "increase" are there – so the republicans were not too concerned about horrifying their base with those words – so at least maybe they can attempt something – I know – add in increases to the capital gains tax and maybe they can work out a deal...

    November 9, 2011 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  6. Edwin

    So... a cut in mortgage deductions in order to drop the tax rate on the rich by 20% of its current rate (35 down to 28)? Any money saved is not coming from there, but from the "changes" to Medicare and Social Security.

    November 9, 2011 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  7. cox

    Once more the GOP up to no good, protecting the 1% by lower the top income tax rate from 35% to 28%. What is wrong with these people.

    November 9, 2011 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  8. Paul

    Depressive ... what a bunch of criminal thieves ... go rotten in hell to all GOPers, including McConnell ... though .. I don't need to tell him that, he is scheduled by God anyway to end up with Saddam ...

    November 9, 2011 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  9. Paul

    If the Americans do't care about their own country, why should anyone else care? Do you like your won country McConnell? It sounds like you like your money more than your country

    November 9, 2011 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  10. Richwood7

    Eliminate the W(acko) Bush tax cuts. The economy would take off like a rocket ship, unemployment would plummet. Reagon and Clinton proved raising taxes was good because it reduced the deficit, reduced uncertainty, and Clinton had budget surplus. Bush proved that cutting taxes to deliberatly bankrupt America (he fired his first two Sec. Of the Treasuy because they warned him of the housing bubble, mortgage crises, bank problems, toxic loans and the tax cuts). Bush did more to destroy America than any other person, organization, or country since the time of the colonies. Not to mention the continued refusal to have universal health care means killing almost 50,000 Americans a year or put another way, since 9/11: al Quada 3,000 murderd innocent mean, women, and children, Republican Party almost 500,000. Al Quada doens't scare mean, the Republican Party scares the Hell out of me. Only those who worship the Devil would support this kind of mass murder.

    November 9, 2011 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  11. Bill744

    Means testing for deductions and credits is tightening up the code for write-offs of the wealthy. But I strongly suspect that cutting the top marginal rate from 35% to 28% will result in revenue reductions that more than offset those gains. That said, the proper response from Dems is "hey, that's interesting... we like the first part, but not the second so much... let's say we keep that first part but to keep our creditors happy, we should limit that to a 31.5% rate – and only through 2013. That will begin to put us on a path to fiscal stability where federal revenues balance with expenditures. We want to both to reach about 20% of GDP."

    November 9, 2011 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  12. kregg

    after Kentucky's election, its proven, democrats get anything they want, handed on a silver platter LOL all republicans do is make promises to put a stop to the dems BS, but only make microscopic gains. I hate liberals, I hate democrats, but republicans have ultimately proven they are not worthy to ever run for any kind of office with leadership

    November 9, 2011 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  13. EdB

    In a time of economic crisis the people doing the best do not want to pitch in even more? We deserve the same fate as the USSR.

    November 9, 2011 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  14. Will

    Yea, right? If you believe that the GOP are open to tax increases, then you believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, & the Tooth Fairy.

    November 9, 2011 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  15. Dan

    Really? I can't write off my SECOND home, and in exchange I get a huge tax cut across the board? Unless I own two+ old money mansions, and have only a moderately obscene income math says WOOT! New yatch for me!

    November 9, 2011 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  16. los

    Crooks!!!!!!! All of them!!

    November 9, 2011 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  17. c.j.

    This is yet another example of attempting to trick americans by claiming to do one thing while doing something else. Gop figure a couple months from now america will forget aaaalll about this little act and take them on their word. Their word is as solid as the cain wreck.

    November 9, 2011 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  18. Jon

    Geez. It's about time...

    November 9, 2011 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  19. Anonymous010

    So, the Republicans want to close one tax loophole then drastically lower the income tax rate? Get real – that's not a concession at all; that's Republicans trying to pull the wool over the American public's eyes again. Any gain from the single loophole closing would be immediately erased by the tax reduction – and then some. We'd be in an even worse position than before.

    November 9, 2011 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  20. Peter

    Democratz are not serious on deficit reduction. If you had a job earning 80k a year with expenses running 100k, what ought you to do? Take drastic action to bring expenses below the income level and then try boosting the revenue as a longterm measure. But you cant keep borrowing (from China in this case) and expect the future generations to have a decent life. We have lost all respect – we are beggars just because we can not control our craving for things we can not afford.

    November 9, 2011 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  21. J-NW

    GOP supporters (those not in the upper 20%) – get an education. Learn math. This latest offer 'redistributes wealth' to the wealthiest. This makes our country far weaker. Our roads much poorer. Our schools inferior. McConnel and Boehner are (lying) puppets for the rich (Koch bros club). GOP supporters who make less than 80K – you're being used – you're voting for the wrong people.

    November 9, 2011 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  22. mr mississippi

    Give them Rep a tax cut for every 100 jobs created in USA WITH NO BREAKS ON FOREIGN TRADE !!! NO JOBS NO TAX BREAKS

    November 9, 2011 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  23. Barnacle Bill

    Cut taxes for the wealthy again?!?! Social Security is fully funded. The only reason these pigs want to dismantle it is so they can raid the coffers, and pretend that they magically reduced the deficit. Dirty rotten scoundrels.

    November 9, 2011 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  24. really

    What kind of sick game is this? They're going to limit the tax cuts people get on their SECOND home? When did that even get IN our tax code? They wanted to cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans from 35% to 28%. Back in 1945 there was a tax law called an excess tax, it was taxed 90-95%. We don't have that anymore, and it shows. The corporate tax rate was 40% back then. It is now 35%. They want to cut it further. Pathetic.

    November 9, 2011 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  25. Dave

    Republican point of view: THE RICH JUST DON'T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY!

    November 9, 2011 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
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