Hours after making a grim prediction about the chances that a special joint committee will succeed in drafting a plan to tackle the country’s debt, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) softened his assessment of the panel’s odds, telling reporters that the path forward depends on Republicans’ position on tax increases.
Asked about his prediction during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the supercommittee will fail, Schumer told reporters at the Capitol Monday night, “I didn’t say that.”
“What I said was that it’s very hard to see how anything is going to get done without net revenues,” Schumer said. “And so far, the other side isn’t for net revenues.”
Schumer had said Monday morning that he believed the supercommittee, which is tasked with drafting a plan to achieve at least $1.2 trillion in deficit savings, would not reach a deal by its Nov. 23 deadline.
“I don’t think the supercommittee is going to succeed, because our Republican colleagues have said, ‘No net revenues,’” Schumer said on “Morning Joe.”
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough interrupted Schumer to ask, “Don’t you think a deal at the end of the day will be done?
Schumer replied, “No. No, because I think – look, when Democrats move too far left, we lose. ... We’re willing to move to the middle.”
Republicans, by contrast, “are not willing to do any revenues,” he argued.
“The American people are beginning to sniff this,” Schumer said. “They’re beginning to sniff that the other side is sort of dug-in and not compromising.”
House Speaker John Boehner’s office countered Schumer Monday afternoon by noting that the Ohio Republican told ABC’s Christiane Amanpour on Sunday that he was willing to consider a supercommittee plan that would include net revenue increases, although he remained opposed to any move to raise taxes.
“I believe that if we restructure our tax code, where on the corporate side and the personal side, the target would be a top rate of 25 percent, it would make our economy more competitive with the rest of the world,” Boehner said on ABC’s “This Week.” “It would put Americans back to work. We’d have a broader base on the tax rules. And out of that, there would be real economic growth and more revenues for the federal government.”
Asked Monday night about the statement by Boehner’s office, Schumer maintained that Republicans as a whole remain opposed to any plan that would include a net increase in revenue.
“Well, let him say what they are,” Schumer said of Boehner’s stated support for net revenue increases. “I haven’t seen it, and you had 33 senators sign a letter saying, ‘No net revenues.’”
Schumer said that Democrats are hopeful that the supercommittee can reach a deal before Thanksgiving but argued that the ball is in the GOP’s court.
“We all hope we can get a deal, and I think we Democrats are willing to move a good part of the way,” he said. “It’s, ‘Will they move a little bit in our direction?’ We haven’t seen that yet.”
Members of the 12-member panel have been tight-lipped about its proceedings. Asked Monday evening as he left the Capitol whether a deal might be expected before the end of the week, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) responded, “I don’t know. We’ll see.”
The video of Schumer’s “Morning Joe” appearance is below (his remarks on the supercommittee start at around the 7-minute mark):