Senate Democrats

Rank-And-File Republicans Disagree With GOP Leaders, Say Serious Approach To Deficit Must Include Revenues As Well As Spending Cuts

Boehner, McConnell Tried To Rule Out Revenues Yesterday, But All-of-The-Above Approach to Deficit Has Bipartisan Backing

Schumer: Grand Bargain Is ‘Next To Impossible’ If GOP Leaders Dig In On Protecting Millionaire Tax Breaks, Other Giveaways

WASHINGTON, DC—Rank-and-file Republicans are sharply breaking from their party’s leadership to say that any serious approach to tackling the deficit must include raising revenues.

Prior to President Obama’s speech yesterday outlining an “all-of-the-above” approach to deficit reduction, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell both tried to rule out any look at the tax code in the upcoming deficit talks. But this ideological approach to the negotiations has been rejected by several top Republicans who say that any serious deficit reduction effort must include enhanced revenues.

Senator Charles E. Schumer, Chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Center, said: “A grand bargain on long-term deficit reduction is next to impossible unless we look at raising revenues as well as cutting spending. Republican leaders in Congress will lose credibility on the deficit if they put on ideological straitjackets and dig in their heels on protecting tax breaks for millionaires. Many rank-and-file Republicans who are serious about balancing the budget have said that revenues must be part of the equation, and they are absolutely correct. To rule out revenues right away would mean scuttling any deficit talks before they even begin.”


Coburn Supports Raising Taxes If Spending Cut Too. Coburn: “Even though I’ve said we don’t need increased taxes, I’ll take increased taxes if we cut spending. We have to look down the road and solve the problems for everybody, no matter what their label is.” [CSPAN Washington Journal, 11/17/10]

·         Fiscal Conservative Tom Coburn Supported Ending Tax Credits for Ethanol to Reduce Nation’s Debt.  Coburn wrote in a letter to Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, “Continuing to issue blanket defenses of all tax expenditures is a profoundly misguided embrace of progressive, activist government and a strategy for tax complexity, tax deferment, excessive spending and unsustainable deficits.”  [Bloomberg, 3/30/11]

Chambliss Says Revenue Reform Must Be A Part Of Solving Debt. “Can the folksy Georgian persuade his fellow Republicans, including his buddy Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), to embrace a tax reform package that lowers rates but raises revenue to cut the deficit? …‘John [Boehner] and I have had conversations about the fact that solving this problem is going to be very, very difficult. We have not gotten into the specifics of it,’ Chambliss said. ‘Ultimately I’m hopeful that Republicans in the House and Democrats in the House will see that this problem is so serious and the only way you are going to solve it is to look at the three pillars — cuts in discretionary, entitlement reform and revenue reform.’” [Roll Call, 4/13/11]

Lamar Alexander Says Federal Subsidies for Coal, Oil, and Gas “May Be too Expensive.” At a Department of Energy, Energy Innovation Summit, Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander said, “Sometimes we get so entranced with an idea that we initiate a federal subsidy for it, and it never goes away.  We’ve done that with renewable energy, ethanol, mature sources such as coal, oil and gas. That may be too expensive.” According to Platts, “Later, on the sidelines of the conference, Alexander, the third ranking Republican in the Senate, said he may support some of President Barack Obama’s proposal to eliminate $26 billion in oil and gas tax breaks.” [, 3/2/11]

Johanns: Let’s Not Take A Thing Off The Table. Johanns said, “You know when I did a letter, and got 32 Republicans and my colleague, Michael Bennet, got 32 Democrats, that letter went to the President. I was asked the same question and I said, look, let’s not take a thing off the table. We’ve got to go into the room ready to work through this. The more we take off the table, the more we say you can’t do this you can’t do that, the less chance we can solve this…I do not like tax increases. But let’s go into the room, everybody with an open mind. And let’s start working through this.” [ABC, 4/13/11]

Freshman House Republican Reid Ribble Believes Oil Subsidies Should Be “Looked At” As Way to Reduce Debt. Republican Congressman Reid Ribble said on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal that subsidies to the oil and gas industry should be “looked at.”  When asked for clarification, Ribble’s spokesman said in an email, “America is $14 trillion in debt and as a member of the Budget Committee, Congressman Ribble believes we’ve got to review all our spending priorities.  The Congressman sticks by what he said on C-SPAN. He thinks that all energy subsidies should be thoroughly reviewed in this upcoming budget. He believes energy companies should stand on their own without subsidy. It’s time for these companies to sink or swim in the private sector without handouts from the federal taxpayer.” [CSPAN, 4/8/11; Huffington Post, 4/13/11]

Senator Mark Kirk Believes Supports Nixing Big Oil Subsidies; They’re “Doing Just Fine on Their Own.” Q: “Why can’t we start collecting royalties, finally, from the oil companies? Or do something about the subsidies that these very wealthy corporations have? Why can’t we get rid of these tax havens? Why can’t we talk about those things? Why can’t we put those on the table as well?”

KIRK: “I think we should. In the House of Representatives, I voted to wipe out many of the oil company subsidies. They’re doing just fine on their own. I think that many of the corporate welfare programs are misplaced.” [CSPAN, 3/1/11]

Senator Dan Coats on Deficit Reduction: “I Said Everything is on Table and That Includes Ethanol, That Includes All Subsidies.” Coats said, “I said everything is on the table. And that includes ethanol, that includes all subsidies. We have got — I’m elected here to come to Washington to make the tough decisions. And even though they go against the political grain of things, no pun intended there regarding ethanol there — I’ve talked to ethanol people. I’ve said that this is something that’s got to make economic sense.” [ABC News, 4/13/11]