August 7, 2022

2 Republicans Open Door to Increases in Revenue

One of the senators, John Cornyn of Texas, said he would consider eliminating some tax breaks and corporate subsidies in the context of changes in the tax code, provided there was not an overall increase in taxes.

“I think it’s clear that the Republicans are opposed to any tax hikes, particularly during a fragile economic recovery,” Mr. Cornyn said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Now, do we believe tax reform is necessary? I would say absolutely.”

But he insisted that any changes in taxes be “revenue neutral,” meaning that the government would not take in any more money from individuals or businesses than it does now.

The other senator, John McCain of Arizona, said he would be willing to consider some “revenue raisers” as part of a broad deal, but he refused to name specific measures.

Mr. Cornyn, a member of the Senate leadership, also said that Republicans would be open to a short-term deal on the debt ceiling to provide more time for a comprehensive agreement.

“The problem with a minideal is we have a maxi-problem,” he said. “And the big problems aren’t going to go away if you cut a minideal. All it does is delay the moment of truth. And so I’d say better now than then. But if we can’t, then we’ll take the savings we can get now, and we will relitigate this as we get closer to the election.”

The White House had no comment on the senators’ remarks.

Last week, President Obama harshly criticized Republicans lawmakers for refusing to eliminate tax breaks like those for private jet owners, hedge fund managers, multinational oil companies and ethanol producers. He argued that eliminating such loopholes could save billions of dollars and help fix the short-term federal deficit and long-term national debt.

The administration and Congressional negotiators are racing to find a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling of $14.3 trillion by Aug. 2, when the Treasury Department says the United States will exhaust its ability to borrow money and could default on some obligations. A bargain must be struck at least a week before then to provide time for a Congressional Budget Office analysis and for both chambers to vote on it.

Mr. McCain said Sunday that closing the tax breaks that Mr. Obama mentioned would have a negligible impact on the nation’s fiscal condition and would defy the will of the voters.

“The principle of not raising taxes is something that we campaigned on last November, and the result of the election was that the American people didn’t want their taxes raised and they wanted us to cut spending,” he said on the CNN program “State of the Union.”

He added that his fellow Republican senator from Arizona, Jon Kyl, a member of the budget negotiating team, had said there were certain measures that Republicans would consider, and that he was open to them. He refused to name any.

Mr. Kyl said he would be willing to consider some increases to help bring down the deficit. “We’re perfectly willing to consider those kinds of issues in the context of tax reform, which we would very much like to do,” Mr. Kyl said last week on “Fox News Sunday.” “But we’re not going to have the time to do it or be able to do it in order just to raise revenue as part of the exercise, which should be about reducing spending.”

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