Republican members push back in blame game over supercommittee failure

The six Republican members of the debt supercommittee united on Friday to set the record straight on the failure of the congressional panel last week to reach a deal to reduce the deficit.

While slamming others for engaging in "the blame game" over the committee’s failure, the Republicans - three senators and three congressmen - pushed back against President Obama's and the Democrats' narrative which has blamed the GOP for the stalled negotiations.

"At no time in the negotiations did the Democratic committee members drop their insistence that, one way or the other, any deal had to include a trillion dollars in new taxes," Sens. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Rob Portman (Ohio) and Pat Toomey (Penn.) and Reps. Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Fred Upton (Mich.) and Dave Camp (Mich.) wrote in The Washington Post.

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Democratic aides last month leaked a proposal by the Democratic supercommittee members that called for more than $1 trillion of tax increases as part of a $3 trillion deficit-reduction plan.

Republicans, who have steadily opposed tax hikes as a means of deficit-reduction, rejected the offer.

The supercommittee was tasked with negotiating a package that would cut $1.2 trillion in the next 10 years. The 12-member panel announced last Monday, two days before their Nov. 23 deadline, that they had failed to reach an agreement.

Supercommittee member Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) blamed the panel’s failure on Republican resistance to allowing Bush-era tax rates to expire.

The Republican members of the committee pushed back hard to debunk the accusation of their "political attachment to the Bush tax cuts" in their op-ed.

"The untold story of the negotiations is the significance of the Republican offer of fundamental tax reform," they wrote, referring to a plan proposed by Toomey. Toomey put a plan on the table to increase revenues by broadening the tax base during negotiations, which was considered a significant compromise on the GOP side.

"It was the only truly new idea offered during this process," the lawmakers write of the Toomey proposal. "Democrats made a point of saying that they would accept the new tax revenue in the plan but that they still also wanted the 2013 tax increase — which, of course, would negate the benefits of the proposal."

The Bush tax rates are already scheduled to expire at the end of the year, which Republicans say effectively results in "the largest tax increase in our history."

According to the GOP supercommittee members, Democrats refused to acknowledge their own "inconsistency" in negotiations.

"We can’t both reform the code as Republicans propose and undo it all 12 months later," they conclude.