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Super Committee GOP Offer 'Backup' Plan, Dems Reject the Offer

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Around the Capitol, it certainly feels like the Friday before a deadline.
Late Friday, Republicans on the Super Committee, along with Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio., offered a “last-ditch, plan B” proposal to Democrats, in case the negotiators on the Super Committee fail to reach their target.
A Republican aide says their plan is “designed to be the lowest of the low hanging fruit, stuff that everyone agrees on,” so that if Super Committee members fail to reach the big agreement at least there will be something left to salvage.
The Republican plan, as offered late Friday to Democrats, is well below the mandated $1.2 trillion cuts the committee is supposed to come up with.
The plan calls for $643 billion in cuts over the next decade, including $229 billion in additional revenues and $316 billion in spending cuts. The plan does not touch Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. To entice Democrats further, the Republican plan closes the corporate jet tax loophole.
Republican aides say that this plan draws directly from former debt groups like Simpson/Bowles and Rivlin/Domenici. Aides stress that even while they are offering this contingency plan, Republicans still continue to search for a way forward to achieve $1.2 trillion or more in deficit reduction, but this offer should serve as a back-up plan.
But Democrats were not buying it, and immediately rejected the Republican proposal Friday.
“From what I’ve heard it does not meet, even close to coming to meet, the issues that we set out from the beginning: fair and balanced,” a visibly frustrated Sen. Patty Murray, Democratic co-chair of the committee said Friday. “The wealthiest among us need to participate and we are still waiting for a revenue plan from the Republicans that meets that test.”
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., essentially mocked the Republican offer, noting that it falls far short of the primary goal of the committee.
“We were sent here to do $1.2 trillion or $1.5 trillion or $4 trillion so the idea on Friday of settling for half of what the American people need, what we were sent here to do, is unacceptable to me,” Kerry said leaving a private meeting Friday afternoon. “I think the American people on its face can tell that that does not meet any standard of fairness, any standard of common sense.”
Both Murray and Kerry, two of the most outspoken Democrats on the Super Committee with a large role in the negotiations, seemed visibly frustrated, exhausted and unsure now of the way forward.
“This is the divide right now and we’re still working,” said Kerry, “I hope we can get there, but I don’t know.”
With nearly all members of Congress home now for the Thanksgiving holiday, the members of the Super Committee will continue working through the weekend in order to get a deal by next week. While the deadline for a deal is Wednesday, the group knows they need to get a proposal to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office by Monday at the latest to be scored and voted on in time.
Leaving Capitol Hill Friday night, one Republican on the exclusive panel expressed uncertainty on the path ahead.
“I don’t have as much hope as I did last week, but we talked again today,” Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said. “You know, deadlines have a way of focusing your attention, so … we’re going to keep talking.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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