Portman, Toomey Try to Attract Dems on Taxes

Friday, 11 Nov 2011 12:43 PM

By Newsmax Wires

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GOP Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Rob Portman of Ohio, both members of the supercommittee on deficit reduction, have been unable to get Democrats on the panel to agree to Toomey’s tax reform proposal. So now they’re attempting to bring Democratic senators outside the supercommittee on board, The Hill reports.

The plan would raise about $300 billion in new tax revenue while at the same time lowering marginal income tax rates for everyone. The two Republicans think their proposal could serve as the basis for a deal by the supercommittee, so they are trying to draw Democrats to their idea.

They met Wednesday with Republican and Democratic members of the “Gang of Eight” senators who have been working together informally on deficit reduction ideas. The eight include Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Mark Warner, D-Va.; Kent Conrad, D-N.D.; Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; Mike Crapo, R-Idaho; Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.; Tom Coburn, R-Okla.; and Mike Johanns, R-Neb.

While many Democrats have reflexively dismissed the proposal, Durbin, the Democratic Whip, said Wednesday that Republican willingness to broach an increase in tax revenue represents a “breakthrough." While Durbin said he doesn’t support the plan, he called the approach “an important step forward.”

Some Republicans think Toomey and Portman can convince other Democrats too. “I do,” Coburn told The Hill. “It’s a big breakthrough, like Dick Durbin said.”

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