With the Super Committee almost certainly headed for failure (the practical deadline is tonight, while the actual deadline is Wednesday, and no deal has been formed) Jon Kyl said today that the reason was the Democrats’ refusal to tackle spending cuts without hiking taxes.
“In Washington there are folks who won’t cut a dollar unless we raise taxes,” Kyl said on Meet the Press, noting that the Republicans had a $640 billion deficit reduction plan that the Democrats had rejected.
“This was not about extending the Bush tax cuts,” Kyl added. “It was about trying to do entitlement reform on the mandatory side of the budget. Now when our Democratic friends made it very clear that they weren’t going to do anything without raising taxes, we then turned to what is the best way to derive revenues? Is it to allow the current code to expire and have the biggest tax [increase] in the history of our country? No.”
“We thought that the better way to do that was to limit the deductions and credits, the so-called loopholes, derive the revenue that way, and in doing so, you could both reduce some of the rates and have enough revenue to actually apply to deficit reduction and that amount was $250 billion dollars,” Kyl concluded.
Does that mean the trigger will go into effect and the Department of Defense will face severe cuts?
“We do have the opportunity, even if the committee fails, to work around the sequester, so that we still have 1.2 trillion dollars in savings over 10 years,” Kyl answered. “Now that will require work on Congress’ part and some agreement, but I can’t imagine that, knowing of the importance of national defense, that both Democrats and Republicans wouldn’t find a way to work through that process so we still get the 1.2 trillion in cuts but it doesn’t all fall on defense.”
John Kerry vehemently argued that the Republicans had caused the stalemate by insisting the Bush tax cuts remain.
“[The] most significant block to our doing something right now, tomorrow, is their insistence, insistence, insistence on the Grover Norquist pledge and extending the Bush tax cuts,” he said.