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Deciphering Speaker Boehner’s Supercommittee Spin

In today’s USA Today, Speaker Boehner did his best to spin away the Grover Norquist pledge. But the facts are clear: Democrats pushed for a big, bold and balanced plan with tough choices. Republicans offered an unfair and unbalanced plan that extended Bush tax cuts for people making more than a million dollars a year, repealed the Medicare guarantee, and failed to include a jobs proposal.

SPEAKER SPIN:

“Republicans are focused on the American people’s No. 1 priority: jobs.”

FALSE.

After 322 days in the House Majority, Republicans have failed to produce a jobs agenda—and instead voted against Democratic initiatives that create jobs.

SPEAKER SPIN:

“That’s why I did everything possible to support the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.”

FALSE.

…Before the 12-member supercommittee ever met, House Speaker John Boehner warned that they had better not agree to any new tax revenue. [Washington Post, 11/22]

Grover Norquist, a leading anti-tax activist, says Republican leaders in both chambers have assured him that they will not agree to tax increases to reduce the deficit. [The Hill, 11/15]

While Speaker Boehner called the Republican Supercommittee plan a “fair offer,” the New York Times says “the proposal is highly deceptive — the main goal seems to ensure even deeper tax cuts for the wealthy — and demonstrates why the committee seems headed toward a deadlock.” [11/15]

SPEAKER SPIN:

“Sadly, the so-called supercommittee was unable to reach agreement because President Obama and Washington Democrats insisted on dramatic tax hikes on American job creators, which would make our economy worse.”

FALSE.

Americans demanded a balanced agreement: 67 percent of Americans – including 69 percent of independents – believe increased taxes on high-income Americans and businesses should be included in a deficit reduction proposal from the Supercommittee. [CNN/ORC Poll, 11/21]

SPEAKER SPIN:

“Throughout the process, Republicans made a series of serious, good-faith offers that included tax reforms that would lead to new revenue and more economic growth.”

FALSE.

The smoke from the smoldering failure known as the deficit “supercommittee” spread heavily across Capitol Hill on Monday, allowing Republicans to obscure the simple truth about the failure to reach an agreement. The only reason the committee failed was because Republicans refused to raise taxes on the rich, and, in fact, wanted to cut them even below their current bargain-basement level. [New York Times, 11/22]

SPEAKER SPIN:

“The GOP proposals would get rid of special-interest tax breaks and loopholes and replace the current tax code with a system that would lower tax rates for every single American and help create jobs.”

FALSE.

The Toomey plan from Republican negotiators on the deficit-reduction “supercommittee” would produce only a modest increase in revenues — about $300 billion over ten years, relative to a baseline that assumes Congress extends all of the Bush tax cuts. But it would accomplish this through what appears to be a substantial shift in tax burdens from households at the top of the income scale to low- and middle-income households. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 11/18]

SPEAKER SPIN:

Democrats, unfortunately, refused to offer anything they didn’t previously support — insisting on a trillion dollar tax hike on job creators and nearly a trillion dollars in new ‘stimulus’ spending….We will continue to try to find common ground with Democrats to address what President Obama called the single biggest contributor to our deficits — health care costs, including Medicare and Medicaid — without job-killing tax hikes.”

FALSE.

Republicans in Washington claimed Democrats refused to budge on entitlements…But, had a single Republican on the panel endorsed even a modest increase in upper-income tax rates, Republicans could have won trillions in cuts from entitlements and discretionary spending. (Certainly far beyond anything we would endorse.)…When you hear Republicans claim that Democrats refused to touch their sacred cows of spending, remember that the Democratic offer would have cut $475 billion from Medicare and Medicaid over 10 years…[New York Times, 11/22]

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