Pelosi for tax reform only if it increases revenue

The top House Democrat warned Thursday that the GOP's push for sweeping tax reform would win Democratic support only if it increases overall revenues.

Republican leaders have been highly critical of the nation's 35 percent corporate tax rate, and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is expected Thursday to ask the budget supercommittee to overhaul the tax code as part of its deficit-slashing mandate.

But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) preempted Boehner's speech Thursday with the stipulation that any such tax overhaul would have to reduce deficit spending on its own.

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"Any tax reform and closing of loopholes, which is really important for us to do as a sense of fairness, must also reduce the deficit," Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol. "You can't just say we're going to have reforms that would lower the corporate rate — which I would fully support — unless you have enough reform to reduce the deficit, too.

"Otherwise," Pelosi added, "all of the reduction of deficit will have to come out of the cuts side, and I just don't think that that's fair or part of the balance that the American people are seeking."

"You're putting too much of a burden on the cuts side," she said.

The 12-member supercommittee is required to identify at least $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade, or $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts will kick in. The panel's deadline is Nov. 23.

Pelosi on Thursday urged the supercommittee to go well beyond its $1.5 trillion goal, saying House Democrats would prefer something like the $4 trillion "grand bargain" Boehner and President Obama were nearing in July before that plan was derailed by House Republicans.

"We'd like to see a bigger deficit reduction than has been called for," she said.

Pelosi also warned that, while an overhaul of the tax code is an admirable goal, it might be too ambitious given the supercommittee's tight timeline.

"We may not be able to get the job done in the next few weeks," she warned.

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