Discuss as:

Supercommittee GOP presses Dems to respond to 'concessions'

The Republican co-chairman of the supercommittee, Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling, pressed committee Democrats this morning to respond to what he said were "considerable concessions" from Republicans this week on taxes. 

Hensarling said that Democrats' insistence on $1 trillion in new revenue wasn't acceptable to Republicans. The GOP, said Hensarling, wants to see more reforms to health care spending. 

"What we still haven't seen from the Democrats is a plan that deals with our structural debt crisis that actually solves the problem," he said. "And unfortunately we've never seen any reforms that would save and secure our health care programs that weren't attached to a trillion dollars worth of tax increase which we believe is ultimately going to harm job growth."

He said committee members are still talking.

Hensarling's comments followed the release on Wednesday night of a new deficit reduction plan on Wednesday evening that would reduce the deficit by $2.3 trillion by combining $1 trillion in new revenue with another$1  trillion in cuts and an additional $300 billion in lower interest costs. 

According to Democratic aides, the plan was quickly rejected by the GOP committee members.

The $1 trillion in tax revenues in the Dems newest plan would be mostly achieved through a mandate that tax reform be completed by January 1st, 2013, according to aides.  If tax reform wasn't achieved by that date, a "trigger" would automatically kick in with $650 billion dollars in tax increases that would be set in advance by the supercommittee.

The last 24 hours underscore just how much gamesmanship has become a part of the supercommittee deliberations as the 12-member panel approaches its Nov. 23 deadline. The Democrats on the committee earlier this week, for instance, rebuffed a Republican offer of $300 billion in new revenue as "insane."

But GOP members of the supercommitte have cast that offer as a significant concession. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), a member of the supercommittee, detailed the GOP offer during an appearance Thursday morning on Morning Joe. 

Toomey confirmed Republicans want to make the Bush tax cuts permanent and lower the top individual tax rate to 28 percent. They would offset that lost revenue with an overhaul of the tax code that would place limits on itemized deductions, tax write-offs and close loopholes. Some of the money captured from the tax overhaul could go to deficit reduction, he said. 

Toomey told the Morning Joe panel, "We've recommended the top rate come down to 28 and other rates come down commensurately. That's the ballpark of where the bipartisan commissions have come out on this. And then lets offset that lost revenue by reducing the size of the value of the deductions that people could take and for the very upper income brackets we could reduce that by a little bit more than what it would take to get to revenue neutral and in the process generate some revenue for deficit reduction"

Toomey argued that the Republican change on taxes should be a sign to Democrats that Republicans are ready to cut a deal. "It's an indication of how much we want to find an agreement here," he said.

When asked if he thinks the committee will reach a deal, he said "its not too late - but the clock, its getting late."