Parties Approach Supercommittee Issues with 2012 in Mind

Monday, 14 Nov 2011 04:54 PM

By Dan Weil

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As the supercommittee on deficit reduction nears its Nov. 23 deadline to reach an agreement, lawmakers from both parties are working to ensure that the panel doesn’t come up with a deal that would hurt their party’s chances in next year’s elections.

That explains why Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, are taking an active role in the negotiations, The Hill reports.

“Members would prefer to live with a stalemate rather than an unbalanced deal that is surrender to the Republicans, and that attitude is reflected in the leadership,” a Democratic aide told the news service.

That may explain why Democrats rejected an offer from Republicans last week, in which the GOP said for the first time that it is willing to accept an increase in tax revenues.

The Republican plan included $300 billion in net new tax revenues. Politically it was meant to show that the GOP is open to negotiations, despite accusations from President Barack Obama that he is dealing with a do-nothing Republican Congress.

Many Republicans believe Obama favors failure so that he can run against Congress. “I really don’t believe the president wants to have a deal,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told reporters last week.

“I can’t speak for our colleagues on the Democrat side on this, but I just question whether they really want a deal. Because what they’re asking, they know nobody in their right mind is going to give.”


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