An outline of a plan from the so-called Gang of Five to slash the deficit by $3.7 trillion over 10 years got a warm reception from about half of the members of the Senate Tuesday morning, buoying hopes the proposal could still be a factor before an Aug. 2 deadline for raising the debt ceiling.
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The proposal includes $1 trillion in new revenue, but like Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad’s budget proposal, it would be scored as cutting taxes because it would end expensive annual fixes to the Alternative Minimum Tax, senators involved in the discussions said.
It includes an immediate $500 billion in spending cuts that could function as a stand-alone proposal, backers added.
“The plan has moved significantly, and it’s where we need to be,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a one-time member of the Gang of Six who walked out of the group’s talks this spring.
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Coburn said the proposal could reach the key threshold of 60 votes in the Senate. Other senators were more circumspect, with Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. , saying a “large number of senators are prepared to move on a comprehensive plan.”
But the proposal is not yet legislation, or public, and with both Senate leadership offices cool to it as they work to craft their own fallback bill, and the House likely to oppose the taxes included in the proposal, it remains a longshot for immediate action.
Coburn indicated he had rejoined the gang.