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. Dazed and Confused

    First of all, I do not understand this "Super Committee." The entire US is basing it's security on the most senior and polar members of each party? The Army is broke!!! Training is not being accomplished because there is no money to buy bullets let alone maintain the ranges. If this "Super Committee" does not reach a deal, more money will be removed from the military budget. Great! A professional Army is just that – they are professionals. They train hard and know how to win fights; the key word here is TRAIN. Without money, there is no training.

    Second, what is the deal here with the Democrats? The Republicans blinked and the Dems are saying they are playing "Gamemanship" games. I do not like this "Super Committee" but since it is here, do what you are sent to do and compromise. The Reps blinked and the Dems need to COMPROMISE off that blink, not run to the press and cry foul. Even if the Republicans are playing games, which they probably are, a new deal is on the table and the Dems need to do something with it. I find it hard to believe that the richest people in the world are locked in a room and cannot wheel and deal. How did you get so rich? You wheeled and dealed your way into money so wheel and deal your way to a compromise.

    November 9, 2011 05:09 am at 5:09 am |
  2. brad

    And the show goes on while Rome burns in the background.

    November 9, 2011 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  3. William

    All of the members of Congress are politicians by definition. Few, if any of them, know anything about business, management or balanced approaches. They are dedicated only to what they think should be their idealogy, which is what they think will get them re-elected. The "slash and burn" idealogy of the GOP and its allies seems more destructive than the democratic effort to keep the middle class from continuing to be hammered by misguided policies.

    November 9, 2011 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  4. Politicarp

    When will the party of NO realize that to really attack the deficit, their rich friends and average Americans too will have to pay a little more in taxes. The unwillingness of the GOP to pick their ostrich -like heads out of the sand is truly amazing.

    November 9, 2011 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
  5. john

    Lol this reminds me of an old McDonalds commercial

    November 9, 2011 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
  6. rs1201

    democrats immediately rejected the idea...why exactly? is it that it's making their party look absurd and their leader, obamba, a useless POC...figure it out for yourself.

    November 9, 2011 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  7. Patricia

    I think we need to take some of our money out of the goverment and give it back to the people. It it hard for poor or middle class people to make a living in this world. Some of us make too much money to get the help we need and others are afreaid to get a job becouse if they do they wont keep the hwlp they need. I think it is time to think about the people not the goverment. Stop spending money the U.S.A. Needs on stupid stuff and give it back to the people. Then we wouldnt have a money crises!!!

    November 9, 2011 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  8. OhioConservative

    So, who's being the obstructionist now? Dems have blamed repubs for obstructionism for years, now they propose a tax revenue increase – a cut to a very popular tax break – and the Dems balk! Why?

    November 9, 2011 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  9. jnpa

    Boehner will never go for tax hikes for the rich, and never will the rest of the republicans.

    November 9, 2011 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  10. Marie MD

    If I hear the word "entitlement" one more time from the teapublikans I will put a curse on anyone who votes teapublikan ever again!
    The wealth of the super rich up 257% since 1979. The poor, let's not even go there, and the vanishing middle class' graph is a flatline.
    I will never understand, seeing the results in virginia this morning, how people can continue to vote for a party that doesn't care about the poor and seniors. I wonder what all those old farts who are moving to confederate virginia are going to do with no money in retirement.

    November 9, 2011 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  11. Herman in anahiem

    It is no surprize that the money minded republicans want to steal from the poor and give to the rich so they can invest in manufacturing companys in other countries. this alslo to outsourcing all services to foreign countries. They can twist 12 peoples arms easier than all. Of the senate and congress. When it comes to money they are in bed together. Why should their pension be more tnan the amount paid by regular social security recipients and now they want to take more from the poor without a gun, just a vote! 3hey are all dont want to asses an inport tax on imported goods from countries that have an imbalance of trade in their favor. That WOULD BE TAXING THE RICH HERE IN THE US WHO OWN AT LEAST 40% of the factories that are producing the goods and outsourcing services. By placing tax on imported goods would bring jobs back to the US because the tax would offset the labor savings of manufacturing in foreignt countries .

    November 9, 2011 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  12. Common Sense

    The "story" that Democrats have been "peddling" is, in fact, the truth, oh great turtle man

    November 9, 2011 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  13. EdSantaFe

    "Republicans want ... to lower the top marginal income tax rate for individuals from 35% to 28%."

    What do these Republican idiots not understand?

    November 9, 2011 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  14. J.V.Hodgson

    Gosh what a misleading headline. Its a mortgage relief on second homes abandonment. and Then
    I guarantee the income tax reduction costs more then the mortgage reief benefit to overall tax revenue.
    Allowing McConnel et al to steer around not giving numbers is not serving the people and media laziness, the CBO can validate this very quickly.
    I have lived in many places globally none of them allow mortgage relief on second homes only your selected Home of residence in your country of residence. So like some ultra wealthy people I have met who have even third and fourth homes there is no way they get mortagage relief against taxes on them.
    Pray do tell the economic benefit of second home mortgage relief to the American nation as whole!! Its a pure class i.e rich class benefit so who was playing class warfare?

    November 9, 2011 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  15. Cajun_Dude

    Putting one deduction on the table in exchange for another tax cut for the wealthy is worthless.
    It is unforgivable that virtually all republicans have signed a "pre-nup" with Grover Norquist that controls their actions when representing the American people. Everyone knows who is controlling him.
    At this point they should let the Bush Tax Cuts expire. That seems the only way to get the wealthy to pay their share of taxes. If the Republicans can say their first (and seemingly only) priority is to make Obama a one term president, the Democrats have no reason to play nice.

    November 9, 2011 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  16. Statesrule

    As a good short term start, I know a 5% decrease in all taxes would help all Americans and a 15% cut across every entitlement picking and choosing..our economy will flourish again

    November 9, 2011 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  17. bob

    GOP is a joke. The poor and middle class people that vote for these clowns need to wake up.

    November 9, 2011 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  18. William

    Wow. Yes. This is exactly what we need – more taxes and more waste. I loved the White Only tax(tanning tax) and now the Christmas Tree tax has been slipped in just in time for the holiday season.

    November 9, 2011 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  19. firstlight

    This would be GOP genius to give significantly on both revenue and cuts at this time – position them well for the 2012 elections. Of course the Dems want this to fail...which is why the GOP should be even more aggressive on the revenue aide to make an air tight case for the election. They had better do it 1) to crush the Tea party that is hurting their ability to win the general election and 2) to make up for a weak slate of candidates for the general election.

    November 9, 2011 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  20. Brendan

    "Stoopid Republicans and their obstructionist polices!"
    – Every liberal

    November 9, 2011 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  21. James

    "Read my Lip" NO NEW TAXES

    November 9, 2011 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  22. Joseph B

    This claims republicans are open to tax increases, but in actuality republicans are asking for tax cuts, and in the process are willing to limit a few deductions. Republicans are trying to lower the tax rate from 35% to 28% and think it is a tax increase?? How dare CNN claim this is Republicans being open to tax increases?

    November 9, 2011 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  23. Ex-GOP Con

    Good Lord! Fire Rich McConnell already! The old fart is a career politician and is an obstructionist to getting our country's fiscal house in order.

    November 9, 2011 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  24. Ain't life strange?

    The only redistribution of wealth being executed in this country is being attempted by the GOP. They give the appearance of working on behalf of the American people but, in reality, only have the interests of the wealthy and corporations on their mind. If they allow further tax breaks for big business the burden of that outcome will fall on the backs yet again of the majority of Americans. Somebody has to pay for essential services.

    November 9, 2011 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  25. Peter

    There is no way that we can seriously attack our debt without some tax hikes and the Republicans know this, regardless of their political posturing.

    November 9, 2011 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
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