Republican leaders taking part in talks with the White House designed to devise a long-term deficit reduction plan reject the idea of including an overhaul of the U.S. tax code as part of a deal, said Senator Jon Kyl, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican leader.
Kyl said in a radio interview May 7 that he and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor both oppose having any tax increases as part of a deal that could be paired with a vote this summer to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt, and that an overhaul of the tax code would expose some Americans to higher taxes.
“It’s a little difficult to talk about pro-growth tax reform because one of the elements of that of course is the elimination of so-called tax expenditures,” Kyl of Arizona said in an interview with broadcaster Larry Kudlow on 77WABC radio. “When you do that, somebody’s taxes go up.”
Kyl and Cantor are the two Republicans taking part in talks with Vice President Joe Biden that aim to forge a bipartisan plan to cut the debt. President Barack Obama is calling for broad tax-code changes that include closing individual income tax loopholes to help boost revenue into the Treasury as part of a plan.
Tax-code changes also are part of parallel talks under way among a bipartisan “Gang of Six” lawmakers trying to forge their own plan. Those talks have been beset by delays that prevented the group from outlining ideas before Biden began his own negotiations with six other members of Congress last week, casting doubt on prospects for a quick debt-cutting deal before the debt ceiling is reached later this summer.
Cap on Debt
The Gang of Six, three Senate Republicans and three Democrats, is led by Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia and Republican Saxby Chambliss of Georgia.
Kyl in the interview with Kudlow also reiterated that Republicans in the Biden-led talks will oppose any effort to include a cap on the nation’s debt or deficits in a deal. He said such limits fail to be effective because they require future tax revenue to be projected accurately. The stream of federal revenue has been too unpredictable in the past, he said.
Instead, he said, he and Cantor support an overall cap on government spending.
“The idea of a spending cap is far preferable to a debt cap, and that’s why Eric Cantor and I very strongly support that approach,” Kyl said.
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