Skip to comments.Hensarling says GOP is willing to consider new Dem tax proposals
Posted on 11/17/2011 9:13:36 AM PST by Qbert
Republicans on Wednesday signaled they would consider higher tax revenues to win a supercommittee deal if Democrats offer deeper cuts to entitlement spending.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Texas), a conservative Republican who is the co-chairman of the deficit supercommittee, walked back a statement he made Tuesday on television, when he said Republicans have gone as far as we feel we can go by offering to raise $250 billion in new tax revenues.
Briefing reporters on Wednesday, Hensarling said Republicans would be more than happy to negotiate around a new offer from Democrats, pointedly declining to say whether $250 billion was the maximum in new revenue the GOP could accept. Im waiting for the Democrats to put fundamental reform on the table, Hensarling said.
He called on Democrats to make an offer that included significant changes to Medicare, Medicaid and overall healthcare spending. Im not going to negotiate against myself. That is one offer we have put on the table that they can accept, Hensarling said.
Republicans are under pressure to win a deal to avoid automatic cuts to Pentagon spending that would be triggered if the supercommittee fails to agree to at least $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts over 10 years. The prospect of those cuts has given Democrats leverage, and both sides have worked to cast the other party as inflexible.
Cuts to Medicare would also be triggered under the summer deal to raise the debt ceiling, but critically, these cuts would be limited to insurance companies and would not touch entitlement benefits. Social Security and Medicaid are exempt from the automatic cuts.
Hensarlings comments came as leaders in both parties sought to bridge an ideological gulf exactly one week before the supercommittees Nov. 23 deadline to propose at least $1.2 trillion in deficit savings.
Republican and Democratic members of the debt panel huddled separately throughout Wednesday, with both sides acknowledging the obvious: Time is running out.
We continue to meet, and we continue to negotiate, but in the back of our minds we know the stroke of midnight is coming soon, Hensarling said. He noted that the supercommittee must submit proposals to the Congressional Budget Office by Monday.
Times ticking away, GOP panel member Rep. Dave Camp (Mich.) told reporters as he left a meeting in Speaker John Boehners (R-Ohio) office late Wednesday.
Hensarling said Democrats must offer to seriously tackle entitlement spending before Republicans move off their principal public offer of $1.2 trillion in budget savings, with $250 billion in new net taxes.
I give my Democratic colleagues credit for at least putting some reforms on the table, but they do not solve the problem, Hensarling said. Until they propose a plan that does, he said, Republicans wont move.
Were not changing this offer we have on the table, he said.
Hensarlings hard-line comments Tuesday in an appearance on CNBC threatened to explode the delicate negotiations, but on Wednesday he made it clear the GOP could move in reaction to a new Democratic offer.
We wait for their solution, so Im not rejecting any offer out of hand, Hensarling said Wednesday. Quite the opposite. Im still waiting for a new offer to be put on the table. Should that offer come, I am more than happy to negotiate around that offer.
Hensarling said Republicans had made multiple offers, but would not describe any of them except for the one that has become public: a $1.2 trillion deficit plan from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). The GOP offer on revenues is predicated on blocking a tax increase in 2013 that would come with the expiration of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts. Republicans are proposing to permanently lower business and income rates while generating revenue by scrapping deductions, which aides note are used primarily by the wealthy.
Hensarling specifically urged Democrats to embrace a Medicare proposal from the bipartisan Rivlin-Domenici commission, which would partially shift Medicare to a premium support system. Democrats have opposed the proposal as privatizing Medicare, and aides pushed back on Hensarlings comments by noting that the GOPs own supercommittee proposal does not mention premium support.
Democrats dismissed Hensarlings claim on entitlement reform, arguing that the $350 billion in Medicare cuts they have proposed in their larger plan is actually bigger than the Medicare cuts the GOP offered in its smaller proposal.
Republican leaders were being pulled in opposite directions Wednesday within their own party. A bipartisan group of more than 150 House and Senate lawmakers renewed their call for the supercommittee to go big and strike at least a $4 trillion deal that included new tax revenues, entitlement reforms and discretionary spending cuts.
As part of that coalition, the third-ranking Senate Republican leader, Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), argued that Republicans on the supercommittee needed to offer more revenues if the deficit panel hopes to balance the countrys books.
This is about more than money, its about whether the president and the Congress can competently govern, Alexander said. We now have Republicans who have put revenues on the table [and] we have Democrats on the supercommittee who have put entitlements on the table.
Both need to put more on the table and get a result, and were here to support them, he said.
From the right flank, the conservative Republican Study Committee circulated a letter opposing any net increase in tax revenues.
With current levels of taxation already limiting economic growth, we believe that marginal rates must be maintained or lowered and that repeal of any tax credit or deduction be offset with an equal or greater tax cut, the lawmakers wrote in a letter that was highlighted by Grover Norquists Americans for Tax Reform.
On the other side, a liberal group, the Campaign for Americas Future, urged the deficit panel to fail, arguing that steep budget cuts would be ruinous for the already fragile economic recovery.
Hensarling looked for help from President Obama, who is traveling in Australia. He noted that he told the president in a phone call last Friday that he wanted Obama to clarify or rescind a veto threat he issued to Congress back in September, when he said he would reject any plan to overhaul entitlement programs without asking the wealthy to pay more in taxes.
His veto threat has been widely interpreted to mean there can be no reforms of our unsustainable Medicare and healthcare spending until attached to a trillion-dollar tax increase that we believe fundamentally would make the jobs crisis even worse, Hensarling said.
As I indicated to the president, if that was not indeed his wish, then he should either clarify that veto threat or withdraw that veto threat, he added. That is something that could be very helpful for the president to do to these negotiations.
Mike Lillis, Erik Wasson and Molly K. Hooper contributed.
Posted at 3:27 p.m. and updated at 8:02 p.m.
Consider it then reject it! Watch these so called cons will cave once again.
FWIW, I’d consider the source first while keeping my powder dry :-)
Thanks Republicans for caving in. Just what we elected you for.
They conspired with the democrats to create this pressure.
Hensarling also backed Dede Scozzafava.
If your morbidly obese spouse needs to lose weight, the answer is more exercise and fewer calories. To agree to add more Twinkies and Ho Hos to their daily diet if they promise to start exercising later is not doing them a favor. Even adding lots of Twinkies once they start exercising a little is not a good idea. The federal budget is no different. The federal budget problem is uncontrolled spending, and the solution is less spending, not eating more.
Yep. They conspired to make this inevitable, this was the whole point of the supercommittee.
Tax increases will be real and the cuts will never come(or gets jacked up in due time).
Yep. They conspired to make this inevitable, this was the whole point of the supercommittee.
Then we vote the SOBs out and continue to do so until they hear us and get it right.
“Tax increases will be real and the cuts will never come(or gets jacked up in due time).”
Those stupid, stupid fools
This could also be the GOP calling the Democrats’ bluff.
The Democrats have been counting on the GOP to draw a line at no new taxes, so they (1) wouldn’t have to come up with any actual spending cuts, and (2) could (along with their friends in the MSM) blame the GOP for things falling apart.
Now that the GOP has put some tax increases on the table, the Democrats have to come up with at least some spending cuts.
This could be smart poker by the GOP, or, as someone said, this could just be the GOP caving.
Yet another reminder of the difference between ‘Republican’ and ‘conservative’.
Republicans will cave. They ALWAYS do.
Regardless of the outcome, Republicans will be blamed for whatever happens. It's amazing that we NEVER learn this.
Therefore, we have nothing to lose. So hold the damn line.
There will never be any real spending cuts, ever. These “cuts over 10 years” things never happen because they cannot bind future Congresses.
Tax increases will be immediate of course.
Surrender is “Calling their bluff”??
The GOP wins control of the House, assuring them control of the nation’s purse strings. WIN
Boner and McConnell agree to Democrat scheme of a secret SUPERCOMMITTEE which is mandated to control the budget or enforced cuts to the military take place. CHECKMATE. Dems block GOP success thanks to crying Boner and traitor McConnell.
Dems on committee dig heels in and demand tax increases. GOP capons on Supercommittee cave in. Game over. Dems win.
Why is the GOP leadership so feckless, stupid and cowardly?
If the Tea Party can’t make the GOP see reason, they should DESTROY the GOP and set up a real party of opposition to the Communists who run the Democrats.
Our GOP friends have demonstrated no intention to reduce deficit spending. Time to shrug.
the ballot box has become a worthless lost cause.
This is soooo STUPID! Insane! We are 15 TRILLION in debt...more than 100% of our GDP! And in another 10 years we will be another 9 Trillion in debt. That is 24 TRILLION! And these IDIOTS can only find 1.2 trillion in "cuts"? And just where is that 9 trillion going to come from? And that doesnt include the "off-budget" accounting of unfunded liabilities of another 100 Trillion.
Hussein has racked up 4 Trillion in the last 3 years and the ENTIRE Chinese economy is 3 Trillion. So the money isnt coming from them! We are going down hard. Real hard.