House Dems to Senate brokers: Use revenue to make 'down payment'

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A group of eight senators is working to find a $55 billion "down payment" that would temporarily avert automatic spending cuts set to take effect at the beginning of the year, and would buy Congress six months to hammer out a more comprehensive deficit-reduction plan.

"It’s clear what’s holding up progress here. We can’t get down to the hard business of governing if Grover Norquist is the de facto Chairman of Ways & Means," said Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), who chairs the Progressive Caucus's Budget Taskforce. "The revenue stalemate absolutely has to end, and I truly believe the Gang of 8 can do it. "

The letter was sent to Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) — the group brokering the deal.

The letter was signed by Honda, as well as Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the co-chairs of the Progressive Caucus. They were joined on the letter by Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.).