Supercommittee Dems rebuff GOP contingency plan
Supercommittee Republicans have been working behind closed doors with House Speaker John Boehner on a contingency plan to find at least half of the $1.2 trillion in deficit savings the panel is supposed approve by Wednesday. A GOP leadership aide said, however, that the plan was rejected by supercommittee Democrats.
The GOP back-up plan would cut $643 billion from the deficit. The package would include mandatory spending cuts and fees that had bipartisan backing in past negotiations, according to a GOP leadership aide. As a sweetener for Democrats, Republicans would close the corporate jet tax loophole that their members have been pushing to eliminate for months.
"This package represented a good-faith offer that excluded all of the reforms and entitlement programs that Democrats have expressed concern over," said the GOP leadership aide. "The proposal did not touch Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security."
The aide added that there was nothing "controversial" in the proposal.
One senior Democratic aide said the GOP proposal is "laughable and disappointing."
The aide told CBS News Senate Producer John Nolen that "any deal needs to be balanced, and the ratio of cuts to revenue in their offer is 200 to 1. And its disappointing because we thought we were exchanging ideas back and forth in good faith, and all of a sudden they decided to leak it to the press without so much as a heads up."
Lawmakers and aides on both sides say that they are still working to reach an agreement that hits the $1.2 trillion deficit reduction goal, but the difficulty of getting agreement on even half that amount shows they are far from resolution.
Supercommittee co-chair Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said this afternoon that the major roadblock to an agreement is still tax increases. "Where the divide is right now is on taxes and whether the wealthiest Americans should share in the sacrifice that all of us have to make," she said. "That's the decision. It's what we are waiting for."
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said of the proposal that "there's nothing for jobs and no person could look at that and say it met the test of fairness and balance."
Van Hollen told Bloomberg earlier that "by tonight, we really have to have most of whatever could be agreed to the Congressional Budget Office. That can be amended over the weekend, but this is the 11th hour."
If the two sides are able to reach a deal, they are supposed to make it public along with a Congressional Budget Office estimate 48 hours before a vote. That means Monday is a soft deadline before Wednesday's final opportunity for the supercommittee to approve a package.
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