Partisan lines harden over SUPERCOMMITTEE work on tax reform – TheHill.com
By Alexander Bolton – 09/16/11 06:00 AM ET
Partisan lines are beginning to harden over whether the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction should embrace tax increases, casting doubt on the panel’s goal of reaching a deal by Thanksgiving.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate leadership, said it would be almost impossible for the deficit-reduction supercommittee to agree if Republicans refuse to raise taxes.
Schumer’s prediction lays bare the impasse that is already forming between Republican and Democratic members of the joint select committee, which is tasked with putting together a savings plan worth at least $1.2 trillion. The group must report legislation by Nov. 23.
“I think it’s going to be very hard to come up with an agreement without revenues on the table, net revenues,” Schumer told reporters Thursday night, putting emphasis on the words “net revenues.”
Schumer rejected tax reform as a deficit-reduction solution if it did not raise net levels of taxation.
He said tax reform that merely eliminated some tax breaks in exchange for lowering tax rates — in a way that produced a revenue-neutral score from the Congressional Budget Office — “doesn’t do anything to solve the deficit.”
“Without revenues on the table, it’s very hard for the supercommittee to come up with things,” he said.
Schumer make his remarks in response to Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) declaration earlier Thursday that tax increases should not be part of the supercommittee’s final package.
Speaking at the Economic Club of Washington, Boehner said the 12 members of the panel should focus on spending cuts and entitlement reform. He said they should leave tax increases out of the equation.