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Congressional Insiders Poll: A Revenue Increase to Cut the Deficit? Congressional Insiders Poll: A Revenue Increase to Cut the Deficit?

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Congressional Insiders Poll

Congressional Insiders Poll: A Revenue Increase to Cut the Deficit?

Plus: Federal-employee pensions.

In the eventual deal on the debt-ceiling increase, what percentage of deficit reduction do you think will come from revenue increases?

Democrats (23 votes)

Zero: 22%
Less than a third: 26%
A third to two-thirds: 35%
More than two-thirds: 4%
Should be a clean bill (volunteered): 4%
There won’t be a deal (volunteered): 4%
Don’t know (volunteered): 4%

 

Zero

“It should be half but won’t be, as Republicans won’t put tax expenditures on the table.”

“Republicans will never agree to more revenue—they’ll go down fighting for millionaires and Big Oil.”

 

“President Obama will not hold firm.”

A third to two-thirds

33%: “The Republicans need to face reality.”

50%-plus: “The deficit will be addressed mostly through revenue growth. That has always been the way the deficit has been reduced, and it always will be.”

 

Other

“With the current political landscape, I doubt that there will be a deal with real deficit reduction. Cuts to nondefense discretionary spending as legitimate deficit reduction is a straw man created by the GOP.”

“It should be a ‘clean’ bill with nothing attached.”

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In the eventual deal on the debt-ceiling increase, what percentage of deficit reduction do you think will come from revenue increases?

Republicans (26 votes)

Zero: 89%
Less than a third: 12%
A third to two-thirds: 0%
More than two-thirds: 0%

Zero

“Tax increases are off the table, as are phony asset sales.”

“Once again, taxes are the Democrat game. We aren’t raising taxes in the House—period.”

“Our government spends too much; it does not tax too little.”

“In December of last year, Obama agreed to take taxes off the table until the end of 2012. Why would Republicans let him put them back on the table now?”

“Raising taxes to pay for more reckless spending is a nonstarter.”

“We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem—period.”

“No tax increases is the one constant in the Republican Conference right now; not sure the White House realizes how unifying this vote will be for the House majority.”

“Zero, naught, nil, nada, none.”

“Tax increases are not on the table. I will not vote for a deal that includes raising taxes.”

 

Should federal employees have to match the amount that the government contributes to their pensions?

Democrats (22 votes)

Yes: 36%
No: 46%
Neither (volunteered): 18%

Yes

“But the change should happen over time, not all at once, and it should be prospective only.”

“They already do contribute.”

No

“Federal employees pay into the retirement system and do not vest for several years. Any change in pension contributions should be accompanied by an examination of the vesting rules.”

“It is tantamount to breaking a contract.”

“Not more than they currently match.”

Neither (volunteered)

“All options should be studied and considered. I doubt 535 members of Congress know the system in depth or what adjustments should, if any, be made.”

“We have to take steps to make sure we can meet our pension obligations. Thepolicy should fit the circumstance. The key to pensions is creating a fair, sustainable system.”

“In the new retirement plan—the thrift savings plan—federal employees already do match the amount the government contributes.”

“One size won’t fit all. Federal employees have various negotiated benefit packages, depending on their occupation and contract of employment. Any changes to those should be bargained and a matter of employer-employee negotiation.”

 

Should federal employees have to match the amount that the government contributes to their pensions?

Republicans (27 votes)

Yes: 78%
No: 19%
Neither (volunteered): 4%

Yes

“We’re broke, and it’s time for the federal government programs to better match up with the private sector.”

“If that’s the private-sector standard, then yes.”

“Really, it’s only fair relative to everywhere else across the country.”

“Absolutely. Unless the Democrats get supermajorities back, that is the least that will happen.”

This article appears in the May 28, 2011 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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