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Democrats Plan Deficit Blame

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Sen. Charles Schumer told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday that he believes the super committee will deadlock because of Republicans’ refusal to raise taxes.

The full Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction hasn’t met to negotiate behind closed doors since last Monday — and for now, that’s OK with the panel’s Democrats, who are beginning to seek ways to blame potential failure on the GOP.

Democrats on the super committee have refused to meet with the full group again until Republicans come to the table with what they deem a more “serious” offer that includes revenue increases, according to sources close to the committee. And Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Center Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) declared Monday on TV that the panel is doomed to fail because Republicans refuse to raise taxes.

After a rough summer in which Democrats struggled to win the messaging war on deficit reduction, it appears they are now openly bracing for failure and trying to get ahead of Republicans in the blame game. But their maneuverings may also further complicate the stalled progress of the super committee two weeks before its deadline to produce a bill that shaves at least $1.2 trillion from the deficit.

Early Monday morning, Schumer said repeatedly that he believed the super committee would deadlock. Notably, he volunteered that analysis in an answer to a general question about which is better for reducing the deficit: raising taxes on the rich or closing loopholes in the tax code.

“I don’t think the super committee is going to succeed because our Republican colleagues have said no net revenues,” Schumer said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “You talk to the three people on our super committee on the Senate side, you talk to [Rep. Chris] Van Hollen [D-Md.], we’re willing to move to the middle.”

“They are not willing to do any revenues,” the New York Democrat continued. “The American people are beginning to sniff this. They’re beginning to sniff that the other side is sort of dug in and not compromising.”

Sources close to leadership and super committee Democrats said there was no direct coordination between Schumer and the Senate panel members — which includes committee Co-Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) — about moving forward with the “failure” message. But they said discussions had taken place about attacking Republicans for what Democrats believe is an unworkable offering on revenues.

Although super committee Democrats publicly contend they are working toward a deal, aides noted that panel Democrats were not upset by Schumer’s comments. They characterized his assertions Monday as an extension of what Democrats have been saying for two weeks — that many Republicans are unwilling to move on taxes and that if they don’t, a deal will be out of reach.

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