The bipartisan committee of twelve representatives and senators charged with reaching $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction will have an exceedingly difficult time raising taxes.
The deficit reduction and debt limit increase law signed by President Barack Obama yesterday says that the so-called “Super Committee” must gauge its cuts according to current federal law — which means that ending the Bush tax cuts or allowing the Alternative Minimum Tax to continue its automatic growth will not count toward the $1.5 trillion total.
Yesterday Obama called on the committee to embrace a “balanced approach” to cutting the deficit, saying he expected it to agree to higher taxes on the wealthy. This has been a constant theme throughout the debt limit negotiations.
But Republican leaders in both houses don’t appear ready to appoint any members to the committee who will entertain the notion of raising taxes.
And even if a majority of “Super Committee” members signed on, the bill would still need to face the House of Representatives, where just about every Republican in the majority has signed the Americans for Tax Reform anti-tax pledge.
It’s likely that Obama will push some sort of tax reform this year, but he’ll have to do it outside of the “Super Committee,” which means that it won’t get special consideration in the House — making it difficult to pass, to say the least.
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