The Corner

GOP Senators to Supercommittee: ‘No Net Tax Increases’

Yesterday, I noted that 40 House Republicans had signed on to a letter — addressed to members of the so-called “supercommittee” — urging them to consider “all options,” including revenue, in an effort to produce a deficit-reduction package of around $4 trillion (far exceeding the group’s $1.2 trillion target).

Today, 33 Republicans Senators sent their own letter to the supercommittee, laying out the parameters of what they would like to see included in the final package. Full text of the letter:

Dear Members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction: 

As members concerned about the fiscal health and future of our country, we ask that any legislation introduced by the Joint Select Committee on Deficit reduction meet the following criteria:    

  • Balance our budget within 10 years;   

  • Place entitlements on a path to fiscal solvency;   

  • Comprehensive tax reform that lowers rates and promotes economic growth, with no net tax increase;

  • Avoid a further downgrade of our credit rating. 

Thank you for your work on this matter, and we look forward to seeing your bill. 

Sincerely,

Notably, the groups of signatories include all three GOP members of the “Gang of Six” — Sens. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), Mike Crapo (R., Idaho) and Saxby Chambliss (R., Ga.) — who proposed a “grand bargain” proposal of their own worth about $3.7 trillion, but was widely denounced by members of both parties. Conservatives critics such as Grover Norquist and House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) denounced the Gang’s plan as a “$2 trillion tax increase.” For the full list of signatories, see here.

UPDATE: House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) indicates that “there is room for revenues” in the supercommittee plan, but with a number of caveats. From CBS News:

House Speaker John Boehner addressed one of the biggest sticking points for the 12 member Congressional “supercommittee” today, acknowledging that any bipartisan agreement will need to include some new tax revenue.

“I think there is room for revenues, but I think there clearly is a limit to the amount of revenues that are available,” Boehner told reporters…

Boehner insisted that Republicans would only compromise on tax revenue if Democrats were willing to take significant and painful steps to shore up Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. “Without real reform on the entitlement side, I don’t know how you put any revenue on the table.”

He said any new tax revenue would not come from raising rates but from overhauling the tax code, sweeping out loopholes and deductions in order to reduce individual and corporate rates.

“I do think that our efforts to have a flatter, fairer tax system, with our targets being 25 percent top rates for corporations, 25 percent top rates for individuals, is achievable. That means you clean out all the garbage. I think it’s very important that it get done,” Boehner said — either by the supercommittee or by the relevant Congressional committees over the next year. 

More here. And here.

Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...

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