The proposal represents an apparent shift from earlier Democratic debt-reduction proposals, which demanded as much as $1.3 trillion in new taxes through 2021. It also appeared to mark a big step toward the latest Republican position, which called for about $300 billion in new taxes.
But Republicans said the offer was a ruse that included at least $800 billion in new taxes from the expiration of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts in January.
“It would lock in the largest tax hike in history — at least $800 billion — and then add an additional $400 billion in job-killing tax hikes without pro-growth tax reform,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). In that regard, Steel said, the offer was “a step backward” that Republicans summarily rejected.
Democrats said the proposal did not address the Bush tax cuts.
Democrats and Republicans on the supercommittee said talks were nonetheless continuing in an effort to identify at least $1.2 trillion in savings before next Wednesday’s deadline. But it was unclear which of the panel’s 12 members were engaged in those talks and whether they had any chance of succcess.
“We are still working very hard to get to a fair and balanced deal. It’s what the country expects,” said Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), the supercommittee’s Democratic co-chairman. “It’s the challenge that we have. We believe we can get there.”
Members of the panel and their aides talked late into the night Tuesday and reassembled in separate partisan huddles Wednesday morning. But no meetings were scheduled with members of both parties present, and all sides acknowledged that no deal was at hand.
“Nothing really to relay right now,” Rep. David Camp (R-Mich.) said at lunchtime Wednesday as he exited a meeting of GOP supercommittee members.
“We had an offer, they had an offer and there have been ongoing negotiations to bridge the differences,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said after a two-hour meeting of Democrats on the panel.
Unless the panel acts by midnight Nov. 23, it risks triggering deep, automatic, across-the-board cuts to agency budgets in January 2013. But the effective deadline is approaching even more rapidly: The law that created the supercommittee requires it to have a plan and a cost estimate from congressional budget analysts by midnight Monday, making this week critical.
Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) briefly entered the fray on Tuesday, meeting in Boehner’s office to discuss the supercommittee outlook. But there was no further contact Wednesday.