Republicans want debt panel to overhaul taxes

By the Associated Press | October 14, 2011 | 12:25 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — A group of Senate Republicans is urging Congress' deficit reduction "supercommittee" to overhaul the tax code and revamp Social Security, Medicare and a host of programs for the poor.

The ambitious agenda was laid out in a letter that Finance Committee Republicans sent Friday to the panel.

The GOP senators suggest eliminating tax loopholes while lowering the top personal and corporate income tax rates to 25 percent, down from 35 percent. They also suggest that the supercommittee consider gradually raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to an unspecified level.

The letter was signed by every Republican on the Finance panel except for moderate Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. The top Republican on the Finance Committee is Utah's Orrin Hatch. Both are seeking re-election next year.