Republicans Open to $600-Billion in 'Revenue' to Reach ‘Big Fiscal Deal’

By Elizabeth Harrington | July 23, 2013 | 1:57 PM EDT

Republican Senators Lindsey Graham (S.C.), John McCain (Ariz.) and Kelly Ayotte (N.H.). (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – A group of Republican senators are “open to $600 billion in revenue” to reach a deal with the White House regarding the debt ceiling limit later this fall, according to the National Journal.

In recent weeks, Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) have attended at least four meetings with top Obama aides, engaging in preliminary talks over how to raise the debt ceiling.

According to Burr, Republicans are open to $600 billion in revenue, but “want to see it come from a mix of entitlement and tax reform," reported the National Journal.

All the senators reported to be in the meetings have signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge to not raise taxes, except for Sen. Hoeven.  The pledge states that the senator must oppose all tax rate increases and any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits—unless accompanied by cuts in rates. (See Taxpayer Protection Pledge 113thCongress(1)(2).pdf )

The U.S. is expected to hit its borrowing limit of $16.699 trillion later this year.  Congress and the president must agree on a deal to raise that debt ceiling, and the sides remain far apart.

The White House is still insisting on the offer it made in December to avert the fiscal cliff, which included tax hikes of $600 billion and $400 billion in cuts to Medicare.

House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

On Tuesday, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) repeated his position that any increase in the debt ceiling should be matched with spending cuts.

“We all know that we’ve got the issue of the debt ceiling coming up this fall,” he said.  “We’re not going to raise the debt ceiling without real cuts in spending.”

“It’s as simple as that,” Boehner said.

President Obama already secured tax increases on Americans earning more than $400,000 per year, as part of the fiscal cliff deal in January, which raised tax rates for top earners from 35 percent to 39.6 percent.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is reportedly “encouraging the conversations” between his Republican members and the White House in hopes of striking a big deal.

“My hopes are that we could agree on what the deficit is and then begin formal negotiations with the White House,” McCain said.  “There are already a lot of informal conversations going on.”

“You can’t accomplish big things in Washington without a level of trust between both parties,” Burr said.  “That’s in the process of trying to be rebuilt.”

Back in February, during talks about the then-looming sequester, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said, "I'm willing to raise revenue. I'm willing to raise $600 billion of new revenue if my Democratic friends would be willing to reform entitlements."

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