Last week, Congressman Mike Simpson, along with a bipartisan group of 100 other U.S. House lawmakers, urged the deficit super committee to “go big” on debt reduction measures.
Idaho’s junior congressman, Rep. Raul Labrador, has a different message for the 12-member panel: leave out the tax hikes and consider everything else.
Labrador, a first-term Republican representative from Eagle, told IdahoReporter.com Wednesday he is unwilling to vote for any deal that involves tax hikes of any kind. “We have too much taxing, we have too much spending, and we have too much regulation,” Labrador said. “If we want to get out of this mess, we need to get the government out of the lives of individuals and businesses.”
If panel members want to alter the tax situation, Labrador suggested they look for a fairer and flatter tax system that would increase the number of payers.
In the end, though, he said he just couldn’t vote for increase in tax rates. “The only deal-breaker for me is a tax hike,” Labrador explained. “Everything else is on the table.”
That message is at odds with what Simpson wrote in his Nov. 2 letter to the committee. “To succeed, all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenues must be on the table,” he wrote the super committee. “In addition, we know from other bipartisan frameworks that a target of some $4 trillion in deficit reduction is necessary to stabilize our debt as a share of the economy and assure America’s fiscal well-being.”
Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, initially part of the Gang of Six senators dedicated to deficit reduction, released his own recommendation to the super committee in September. In his message, Crapo, along with 33 other senators, urged the super committee to cut as much as $4 trillion through a 10-year span.
Crapo didn’t give specifics on tax hikes or spending cuts, however.
Members of the committee have until Nov. 23 to find at least $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction measures, but it appears they are struggling to find common ground. Earlier this week, Republican members proposed a package with $300 billion in tax hikes, but Democrats balked at the deal, saying that the amount was just not enough.
If lawmakers don’t meet the deadline, they can extend it with a majority vote. If that fails and the committee has not met the Nov. 23 goal, automatic cuts to defense and welfare programs will kick in.
If the panel is able to meet its deadline, the bill would be filibuster-proof in the U.S. Senate and no amendments would be allowed in either chamber of Congress.