One Republican member of the Congressional “super committee” who has signed Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge says that tax increases “are a reality” as a part of any deal to reduce the nation’s budget deficit.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) told CNN’s Candy Crowley Sunday that he still has hope that members of the bipartisan, bicameral deficit reduction committee will reach an agreement for $1.2 trillion in savings before the Nov. 23 deadline.
“Listen, it’s been a roller coaster ride,” he remarked. “I will say this — I respect my Democrat colleagues. I have an excellent working relationship with Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). We haven’t given up hope.”
“What about the revenue side?” Crowley asked. “In terms of actual tax increases, which Democrats have said, ‘Look, you have got to put some skin, here, in the game.’ How much are you — how far are you all willing to go in terms of tax increases?”
“Taxes are already going up by any measurement — nominal terms, real terms — as a part of the president’s health care plan,” Hensarling replied. “We believe, frankly, that increasing tax revenues hurt the economy, but within the context of the bipartisan negotiation with Democrats, clearly they are a reality.”
He continued: “We put a half a trillion dollars of revenues on the table. Some of that fees. But 250 [billion] of it is what most people call static tax revenue. But that is in the context, Candy, of bringing down marginal rates — fundamental tax reform to make the tax code fairer, simpler, more competitive to create jobs.”
“But it’s something Democrats have rejected, as you know, it’s not enough, that it’s just a token amount,” Crowley noted.
“Well, first, Candy, I hope I’m never in Washington to where I consider $250 billion the American people’s money to be a token.” Hensarling explained. “Republicans, we want more revenues, we just want to raise it by growing the economy.”
Watch this video from CNN’s State of the Union, broadcast Nov. 13, 2011.