Tue July 12, 2011
Key Lawmaker: GOP's Formula Is Lower Tax Rates, 'With Fewer Exceptions'
The impasse continues in the talks between the White House and congressional leaders over raising the federal debt ceiling, cutting federal budget deficits and — eventually — starting to shrink the $14+ trillion federal debt.
As NPR's David Welna reported on Morning Edition, negotiators were at the White House again on Monday and "no progress was reported." They'll be back at it today. Key deadlines: July 22, for a deal, in order to have time to craft the legislative language and get it passed through Congress before Aug. 2, when the government won't be able to borrow any more money to pay its bills.
According to ABC News' Jake Tapper, "officials familiar with the negotiations" say President Obama urged the Republican and Democratic lawmakers to come back with a plan for how to increase the amount of deficit reduction they can agree on from $1.7 trillion over the next decade to at least $2.4 trillion — an amount that would match the increase in the debt ceiling that the administration wants.
Tapper reports on one moment yesterday when Vice President Biden displayed some of his characteristic bluntness:
"During another exchange, Republicans were going through proposed tax increases as bad for jobs.
" 'C'mon, man!' Vice President Biden exclaimed, 'let's get real!'
"The vice president argued that their opposition isn't economic, it's ideological, that no real economist thinks they're 'job killers.' "
As for what kind of a deal on taxes Republicans and Democrats might be able to agree on, today on Morning Edition the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee used some phrasing that's a signal of how GOP lawmakers might be willing to phrase a compromise.
His fellow Republicans, Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan said, favor "tax reform, not tax increases."
And what is "tax reform?"
"Lower rates with fewer exceptions," Camp said.
That sounds close to what the president and some of his fellow Democrats are pressing for when they talk about "closing loopholes."
Some other headlines related to the deficit talks:
-- The Wall Street Journal: "Debt Talks Reflect Tensions Between GOP Leaders."
-- The New York Times: "Obama Grasps Centrist Stance In Impasse Over Debt."
-- Politico: "GOP Digs In Against Tax Revenues."