Democrats on latest GOP debt offer: 'Do we look stupid?'

Democrats have rejected the latest deficit-reduction proposal from supercommittee Republicans as an insult. 

A Democratic member of the supercommittee, Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.), denounced the latest GOP offer, which he described as containing $600 billion in program cuts with “only $3 billion in revenue.”

“Do we look stupid?” he told The Hill after leaving a meeting with Democratic members of the panel. “I mean, I don’t know, maybe we do. I certainly am not stupid.”

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Clyburn's fiery comment reflects the huge gap between the two sides, who face a deadline of midnight Monday to submit a proposal to the Congressional Budget Office to be scored. The supercommittee must complete a deal on at least $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts by Wednesday to avoid automatic cuts to defense and domestic discretionary spending that would be trigged in January 2013. 

Supercommittee members on Friday said they would be meeting through the weekend in the hopes of winning a deal, and several said they recognized the urgency of their situation. The panel members face growing doubts that they will meet their goal.

The GOP proposal was offered by Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) staff to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), in yet another sign that the party leadership is taking an increasingly active role in the deadlocked negotiations. 

The contours of the offer suggest the two sides are focused on the minimum $1.2 trillion deal the supercommittee must reach to avoid triggering the automatic cuts. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) earlier on Friday acknowledged a larger deal would now be difficult. 

The GOP offer would have cut $643 billion from the deficit and would have kept some of the automatic cuts to defense and non-defense discretionary spending in place. 

Democrats rejected the offer because it contained only $3 billion in new tax revenue, gained from closing a loophole that benefits corporate jet owners.

Clyburn said the 200:1 ratio of spending cuts to tax revenue “would be far apart” from what’s needed for a deal.

A GOP aide said that the “fallback option” was a fair compromise. 

“This package represented a good-faith offer that excluded all of the reforms to entitlement programs that Democrats have expressed concern over. The proposal did not touch Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security,” the aide said. “There was nothing in the package that Democrats could call controversial.”

“We continue to hope for an agreement, but it is difficult when one side is so transparently uninterested in compromise,” the aide said.

The Democratic co-chairman of the panel, Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), said Democrats were still waiting for a revenue plan from Republicans that meets their test of being “fair and balanced.”

“We are more than willing to continue to work, but that is the divide that we have today,” she told reporters. 

Of the latest Republican offer, she said: “I have not seen it, but from what I’ve heard, that does meet, even close to coming to meet, the issues that we have set out from the beginning — fair and balanced.”

Lawmakers and aides say conversations are taking place on several levels, and while Boehner and Reid have met in recent days, members of the supercommittee continue to meet as well. Republicans and Democrats on the panel met separately on Friday, and a bipartisan group of six committee members also met for more than an hour.

A GOP source said that the offer included $229 billion in revenue, including the closure of the loopholes. The aide said the revenue figures include increased fees, spectrum auctions and land sales and taxes. 

A negotiating group consisting of Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) huddled early Friday afternoon.

This story was posted at 3:43 p.m. and last updated at 7:50 p.m.