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Members Sign Letters That Advocate Different Directions for Super Committee

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. Paul Gosar said he approves of an all-options-on-the-table approach for the super committee but hopes that the end deal will skew toward spending cuts.

Updated: 5:55 p.m.

Seven Republican House Members have a message for the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction: Keep all revenue options on the table, but do not raise taxes.

The muddled message comes today as Reps. John Duncan (Tenn.), Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Mike Kelly (Pa.), Ron Paul (Texas), Phil Roe (Tenn.), Marlin Stutzman (Ind.) and John Sullivan (Okla.) signed on to a Republican Study Committee letter to the super committee urging members not to raise taxes but also signed the “go-big” coalition letter earlier this month encouraging the panel to put all options on the table.

The letters’ overlapping signatories indicate that although the go-big coalition is generally in favor of a grand bargain, some of its members may not vote for just any one.

The RSC letter, headed by Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), states that the 72 Republican Members who signed it believe the super committee should under no circumstances approve a deal that includes tax increases, which they call “irresponsible and dangerous.”

“Increasing taxes on Americans would destroy jobs, erase all hope of an economic recovery, and simply serve to feed out-of-control spending in Washington,” the letter states. “Thus, as you continue the important task to reach a deficit reduction agreement, we ask that any policies the Joint Select Committee prescribes not increase Americans’ tax burden.”

The go-big letter, on the other hand, initiated by Reps. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), asks that the panel keep all revenue options on the table in the search of a big bipartisan deal.

“To succeed, all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenues must be on the table,” that letter states.

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), a go-big signatory, addressed a similar situation Wednesday, when asked why he and some of his fellow Republican Senate colleagues on the coalition had signed a letter by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) urging the super committee not to raise taxes.

The DeMint letter outlines their personal preference, but the lawmakers are “ready to make the compromises and build the solutions” needed for a large deal, Crapo said.

Indeed, the intent of the go-big coalition was to foster compromise, said group member Rep. Steven LaTourette.

“When I said everything needs to be on the table and the letter said everything ... for me, I meant everything,” the Ohio Republican said. “I don’t think there has to be taxes, but likewise if there are taxes, I’d sign on to it.”

Not so for these Members.

Stutzman said he told Shuler before signing the go-big letter that he would not sign off on a tax rate increase because he does not believe that doing so would ultimately raise revenue.

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