Washington – House Democrats offered a sweeping package of recommendations to the “super committee” on deficit reduction, reinforcing the party's position that $1.5 trillion cannot be trimmed without new tax revenue.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the minority leader, unveiled the inch-thick packet Thursday in advance of this week's deadline for submissions. The committee is trying to produce a proposal that would cut deficits over the next decade. The deadline for submissions is Friday.
“The House Democratic Caucus is firmly committed to a deficit reduction plan that is big, bold and balanced,” Pelosi wrote to the committee. “A fair mixture of growth, savings and revenues is needed, with everyone contributing their fair share.”
A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said Republicans would not be sending the committee a formal packet of suggestions. He said GOP lawmakers are in regular contact with super-committee members.
The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is a 12-member, bipartisan panel that has been meeting, mostly in secret, to devise a proposal to cut deficits by as much as $1.5 trillion over the decade. The committee was created from the summer debt ceiling deal, and has wide-ranging authority but a short window to accomplish its task.
By law, the committee has until Friday to accept suggestions from outside entities, and has received submissions from lawmakers, industry groups and advocacy organizations.
Pelosi tapped the top Democrat on each committee to submit recommendations.
Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, wrote that new revenues are needed. He said they could be applied immediately to deficit reduction or used as a down-payment on more comprehensive tax reform that both parties have sought. But he insisted that any change in tax policy should not result in neutral revenues.
“We cannot address our deficit and debt through spending cuts alone,” Levin wrote. “A revenue-neutral tax reform would not help.”
Many believe the super-committee will fail to come to agreement in the partisan atmosphere that dominates budget and economic debates in Washington. The committee has until Nov. 23 to vote on a proposal. If a committee majority passes the proposal, it would be presented to Congress for an up-or-down vote, with no amendments, by Dec. 23. By January, the committee, by law, disbands.
© 2011 McClatchy-Tribune Information Services