Feb. 14, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Hensarling: ‘We’re Not Changing’ Deficit Panel Offer

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Following the Democrats’ meeting, Van Hollen said he hopes that Hensarling’s comments do not represent Republicans “drawing a line in their sand at their last offer. We hope that they’re not throwing in the towel on these negotiations. We’ll hope that they’ll continue to pursue agreement, as we’ve been doing over the last four days [with] active discussions.”

How much of the sniping is a public show and how much it represents an actual souring of relationships is unclear.

Although Van Hollen said negotiations have continued between the two sides over the past several days, both teams of negotiators appear to be digging in. Republicans today continued to insist that Democrats have not countered their offer from last week with a “realistic” proposal, but committee Co-Chairwoman Patty Murray (Wash.) said her party is waiting on the GOP to bring “us a real proposal.”

“I hope they have not walked away” she said.

On CNBC Tuesday, Hensarling defended the GOP’s latest proposal.

“We put $250 billion in what is known as static revenue on the table, but only if we can bring down rates,” he said.

“Any penny of increased static revenue is a step in the wrong direction,” he added. “We can only balance that with pro-growth reforms, and, frankly, the Democrats have never agreed [to] that, so I don’t know how many times I can tell you that that agreement is not going to happen.”

The GOP offer, crafted by super committee member Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), aims to shave $1.2 trillion from the deficit overall. It includes $250 billion worth of tax code reform in exchange for making the Bush-era tax cuts permanent. The $250 billion in tax savings over the next decade would come from eliminating deductions in the existing code. Democrats have argued that the plan does not raise taxes enough and would not achieve its advertised savings by eliminating deductions alone.

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