Democrats and Republicans on the congressional super committee charged with finding $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction were “never very close” to a deal, despite several late proposals that looked like they could gain bipartisan support, said panel member Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., in a Tuesday-morning appearance on Fox & Friends.
Toomey’s own proposal, which he put forth in early November, was the first Republican plan to include revenue elements, which Democrats had insisted on. The plan would provide $300 billion in new tax revenue in exchange for making permanent the Bush-era tax rates and reduced marginal tax rates for individuals.
“The Democrats just said, ‘No, not if it’s not a trillion dollars,’ ” Toomey said.
Another late proposal came on Monday morning, just hours before the committee’s deadline to accommodate the legislative process. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., accepted aspects of Toomey’s plan on the condition that the Bush-era tax cuts would be allowed to expire.
Asked if Republicans viewed Kerry’s offer as a potential breakthrough, Toomey said, “I’m afraid not.”
“To this day, they have never given us their proposal for the kind of structural reforms that we need to bring the entitlement programs under control,” he said.
Toomey added that President Obama “actively” made the super committee’s job more difficult by issuing veto threats, taking health care reform off the table, and asking the committee to pay for his latest stimulus spending proposals.
The senator said that he plans to fight the $1.2 trillion in automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that scheduled to kick in if the super committee didn't come up with its own proposal for deficit reduction. “They're way too heavily weighted towards defense,” said Toomey. “Over the coming months, we’re going to offer proposals that would be alternatives to these cuts,” he added.