There has been some optimism that a tax reform package that lowers rates and generates revenue could be the key ingredient that cements a deal, but aides in both parties are skeptical. That’s in part because the complex job of estimating the costs and savings of massive changes in the tax code would be a lengthy process — even if both sides were to agree on what those changes should look like.
Without the revenue from tax reform or eliminating corporate tax breaks, Democrats are unlikely to agree to deep cuts in entitlement benefits.
Van Hollen said his Democratic colleagues are committed to reaching a sweeping deal that seeks to make $3 trillion in deficit reduction. He called for spending on infrastructure projects, alongside cuts elsewhere. He added that tax reform “should be part of the mix.”
Despite Van Hollen outlining a few goals for the super committee, Members have largely stayed away from setting out any demands. House Republican aides maintain that their representatives at the table are skilled negotiators and that House GOP leaders want them to reach an agreement. Indeed, one GOP aide noted, “If you look at who we picked to have on this committee, we picked some pretty serious people. I really think the expectation from our side is that we get some stuff done.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.