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Parties Draw Their Lines in Deficit Reduction Fight

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call
Speaker John Boehner criticized House Democrats’ new plan to reduce the deficit Thursday, saying their proposed revenue figures are not reasonable.

Although many lawmakers and aides both inside and outside the powerful panel have remained mum about its workings, taxes are getting people to talk.

“Republicans are choosing a pinky swear with Grover Norquist over real solutions,” one Democratic aide said. “Their offer is a joke. Democrats came to the table with an offer that had serious skin in the game for both parties.”

Of course, Republicans don’t see it that way. They believe their plan gives a more specific outline of where tax savings are coming from, not just the amount, which provides more of a platform to find common ground.

Speaker John Boehner, twice party to one-on-one negotiations with President Barack Obama, firmly opposed the Democratic plan.

“I do think it’s time for everybody to get serious about this,” the Ohio Republican said today at his weekly news conference. “When I see news reports of some of what was put on the table, Democrats wanting $1.3 trillion worth of tax increases — this is the same number that was in the president’s budget, the same number that I don’t know if they’ve found any Democrats in the House or the Senate to vote for. So, I don’t think it’s a reasonable number.”

Moreover, Republican sources indicated it would be dangerous to pursue a numerical goal without a specific idea of where and how tax savings would be achieved.

After its two big private sessions to outline proposals Tuesday and Wednesday, the full super committee met this morning, and it is unlikely to meet again until next week. Committee Democrats also met on their own Wednesday night and this afternoon, while the panel’s Senate Republicans met Wednesday afternoon, a gathering that included a phone call with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

The issue of taxes and revenues will be brought to the forefront in a very public way when the super committee holds its next public hearing Nov. 1. The witnesses for the hearing will be Alan Simpson, Erskine Bowles, Alice Rivlin and former Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), all authors of broad, bipartisan deficit reduction plans that included tax reform.

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