Senior GOP aide: New revenues would have to be accompanied by lower tax rates

With reports swirling that House Republicans are supposedly open to $1 trillion in new revenues as part of some grand deficit bargain, a senior GOP leadership aide emails to clarify exactly what Republicans have suggested in the deficit talks:

There have been discussions with the White House about a number of options for moving forward.

One option discussed was a commitment to tax reform and simplification that would lower individual and corporate rates in exchange for closing loopholes, deductions, and other “spending in the tax code.”

This option also included reforms to all three major entitlement programs, ensuring that spending cuts would be larger than the debt limit hike, and including restraints on future spending.

The Speaker has never offered to let any of the Bush tax cuts expire.

No agreement of any kind was made, no offers were made. Options were simply discussed.

So it seems clear that this isn’t really any different from what Eric Cantor said yesterday: Any closing of loopholes or deductions would be accompanied by lowered tax rates.

Asked whether the $1 trillion in new revenues is accurate, the aide answered: “No idea where the $1 trillion figure came from.” I’ve asked if the GOP is open to a deal which would raise revenues, and will update you when I hear back.

As Steve Benen notes, many news outlets have run with the notion that the GOP is signaling a new “flexibility” on revenues. But the reality is that we simply don’t know if Republicans are willing to give up anything new along those lines.

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.

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