House Dems to supercommittee: Raise taxes

Oct. 13, 2011 at 6:53 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- House Democratic leaders Thursday urged the supercommittee charged with debt reduction to approve tax increases.

"The American people overwhelmingly agree that significant revenues must be included in any plan," Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a letter to committee members, The Hill newspaper reported.

Democrats say they support deficit reductions above and beyond the $1.5 trillion the supercommittee must identify.

"We need to create jobs [and] we need to increase the revenue stream because we have people not working, not because we'll raise taxes," House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters Thursday.

The debt ceiling deal President Barack Obama struck with Republicans this summer did not include any tax increases. Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee are pushing for a 5.6-percent surtax on millionaires while letting President George W. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy expire, Politico reported.

Friday is the deadline for non-members to make submissions to the bipartisan 12-member supercommittee, the Los Angeles Times said. The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is charged with coming up with as much as $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over a decade, a goal Democrats say cannot be achieved without new tax revenue.

"The president is right that deficit reduction needs to start with asking those who have done the best in the last years and decades to contribute a little more," Ways and Means Chairman Sander Levin of Michigan wrote in the letter. "The unfortunate reality is that middle-class families whose incomes have essentially been frozen simply cannot afford it, but the most affluent can."

The supercommittee -- created this summer in the deal between Republicans and the administration to hike the federal debt ceiling -- has until Nov. 23 to reach an agreement for a strict up-or-down vote in Congress before Christmas Eve. House Speaker John Boehner said he regularly meets with supercommittee members and doesn't plan to offer formal recommendations, the Times said.

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., suggested Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner could save the country $7 million each year by flying commercial airlines rather than using military transportation.

Geithner's office said the secretary sits in the economy section on all domestic flights and only uses military transportation when he wants to work while traveling abroad, The Hill said.

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