By Mike Lillis - 11/15/11 04:04 PM EST
Rep. Xavier Becerra suggested Tuesday that the budget supercommittee could finalize parts of its deficit-reduction plan this week to send to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
The California Democrat said he's "pragmatically optimistic" that the 12-member panel can "reach that sweet spot that can get us to a result" before the Nov. 23 deadline.
"This could be a magical week," Becerra said during a press briefing in the Capitol. "We should really try to get to the Congressional Budget Office something that they can have the time and the deliberation to score so we can put it before our colleagues in a way that gives them the confidence that they can vote for it."
Still, Becerra suggested that the sides remain far apart on tax reform, particularly whether taxes should be raised on the wealthiest Americans.
"I'm willing to make significant inroads into, for example, some of the mandatory programs, which include Medicare, but that comes as part of a big deal where everyone shares in the sacrifice," he said.
"I know my Republican colleagues are willing to be aggressive in cutting benefits under Social Security and Medicare. I wish they were as ambitious when it came to finding revenue from the wealthiest Americans.
"If we could breach that divide, we'd have a deal," he continued.
Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), another member of the supercommittee, churned headlines this week when he said the six panel Democrats "have not coalesced around a plan.”
Becerra on Tuesday conceded that that's the case.
"Right at this moment, is there a plan that the six Democrats could present to our Republican colleagues and feel comfortable with? Absolutely," he said. "Is there a plan that has actually been presented to the Republicans [from] the six members on the Democrat side? There're still conversations going on, so it would be premature to try to end those conversations, bipartisan conversations, when they may still influence what package the Democrats ultimately believe can get a bipartisan vote.
"It's a moving target," he said.