KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Super Committee: GOP Offers Tax Deal, Democrats Dismiss It

Republicans said Tuesday that they might allow $250 billion to $300 billion of additional tax revenue as part of a deal to shave $1.2 trillion from federal deficits over the next 10 years. Democrats, though, did not seem to view the plan as a major concession. It includes non-tax revenue primarily from the sale of government assets and leases for revenue as well as $700 billion in cuts to Medicare and other government programs.

The Washington Post: Republicans Offer Tax Deal to Break Debt Impasses; Democrats Dismiss It
Congressional Republicans have for the first time retreated from their hard-line stance against new taxes, offering to raise federal tax collections by nearly $300 billion over the next decade as part of a plan to tame the national debt. But Democrats rejected the offer Tuesday — along with the notion that Republicans had made a significant concession that could end the long-standing political impasse — leaving a special debt-reduction committee far from compromise with less than two weeks until its Thanksgiving deadline (Montgomery, 11/8).

The New York Times: Deficit Panel Member Seeking To Avoid Blame
Republicans, long opposed to tax increases, said Tuesday that they might allow $250 billion to $300 billion of additional tax revenue as part of a deal to shave $1.2 trillion from federal deficits over the next 10 years. Democrats were quick to dismiss the offer because, they said, it came with a proposal that would permanently reduce individual income tax rates, including those for the most affluent Americans. ... Members of both parties said Tuesday that they saw a glimmer of hope that the panel could strike a deal and vote on its recommendations by the statutory deadline of Nov. 23, just two weeks off (Pear, 11/8).

Los Angeles Times: Republicans Offer A Tax Proposal On The Deficit
The GOP plan would essentially swap lower tax rates — ending the long-running debate over the expiring President George W. Bush-era tax breaks — for new limits on itemized tax deductions used primarily by wealthier households, such as the mortgage interest deduction on second homes. The new GOP proposal also includes up to $300 billion in other non-tax revenue, primarily from government assets and lease sales, as well as $700 billion in cuts to Medicare and other government programs. Failure by the super committee to emerge with a proposal would trigger mandatory spending cuts to defense and domestic accounts that both sides hope to avoid (Mascaro, 11/9).

The Wall Street Journal: GOP Open to Tax Deal In Talks On Deficit
The emerging battle, nonetheless, marks a potentially important shift in strategy among Republicans, who for months have seemed to insist any budget deal be built on spending cuts alone. The discussion now appears to be about what kind of revenue might be included in a deficit deal. … According to officials briefed on the plan, the Toomey proposal would cut $1.2 trillion from the deficit over 10 years, including $700 billion in spending cuts. People briefed on the plan said it called for cuts in Medicaid, an increase in the eligibility age for Medicare and a change in the inflation-adjustment formula that would slow the growth of Social Security benefits (Hook and Bendavid, 11/9).

Bloomberg: Super Committee Said To Weigh Republican Plan On U.S. Tax Breaks, Medicare
Republicans proposed cutting the U.S. deficit with a tax overhaul to yield about $300 billion and by raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67, said aides familiar with a congressional super committee's talks. Republicans, who until now opposed new tax revenue in any deficit plan, suggested reducing individual tax deductions, exclusions and other breaks and changing the way income tax brackets are indexed to inflation, a Democratic aide said. In exchange, Republicans called for chopping the top marginal tax rate to as low as 28 percent, the aide said (Faler and Litvan, 11/9).

The Fiscal Times: Survey: Experts Predict Super Committee Deal
Amid a glimmer of hope of a breakthrough in super committee deliberations, a slender majority of Fiscal Times budget and political experts surveyed this week predicted the 12-member bipartisan congressional panel will meet its looming deadline to reach accord on a major deficit-reduction plan. ... Committee members might have to resort to budget accounting gimmicks in order to achieve even that relatively modest goal, the experts said (Pianin, 11/9). 

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