Supercommittee: Dems Reject Another GOP Offer

by Andrew Stiles

With the supercommittee’s deadline fast approaching, Democrats have rejected another GOP attempt to bridge the gap between the two sides. The latest Republican plan, crafted as a fallback option in consultation with House Speaker John Boehner’s (R., Ohio) office, would produce $643 billion in savings over the next decade, roughly half of the supercommittee’s $1.2 trillion target. 

According to GOP sources, the savings consist primarily of uncontroversial spending cuts and fee increases that both sides had previously agreed to. It would also eliminate a tax break for corporate jet owners that Democrats have harped about for months, saving about $3 billion over 10 years. Beyond that, the plan would not make any major changes to the tax code or entitlement programs. It breaks down as follows:

  • $316 billion in spending cuts (including $100 billion in defense cuts)
  • $229 billion in higher fees and revenues (including $3 billion from closing the corporate jet loophole)
  • $98 billion in reduced interest on the national debt

Because the plan falls short of the $1.2 trillion target, the remainder ($557 billion) would be made up through sequestration — automatic spending cuts evenly divided between defense and non-defense categories. The modest size of the package indicates how far apart the two sides remain, as the supercommittee works to produce a plan by next Monday in order to allow the Congressional Budget Office to review and score it ahead of the Nov. 23 deadline. Supercommittee members plan to work through the weekend in search of a deal, though there isn’t much reason for optimism at this point.

Democrats were swift to reject the Republican offer, calling it “laughable and disappointing,” and claiming it constitutes a “200-to-1″ ratio of spending cuts to tax increases. Republicans, meanwhile, argue that their plan is essentially a 3-to-2 ratio of cuts to revenue.

Supercommittee co-chair Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.) reiterated the Democratic position that significant tax hikes must be part of any final deal. “Where the divide is right now is on taxes and whether the wealthiest Americans should share in the sacrifice that all of us have to make” she said. “That’s the decision. It’s what we are waiting for.”

“Do we look stupid?” Rep. James Clyburn (D., S.C.) told The Hill following a meeting with fellow Democratic members of committee. “I mean, I don’t know, maybe we do. I certainly am not stupid.”

Democrats previously rejected a $2.2 trillion proposal from Republicans that would have raised about $650 billion in new revenue.