By Justin Sink - 11/20/11 04:56 PM EST
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), a member of the congressional supercommittee tasked with striking a debt deal by Monday to prevent dramatic automatic cuts to defense and entitlement programs, said that he acknowledged "that time is short now, [and] it's going to be very difficult" to strike a deal by the deadline.
"It's not entirely too late yet, it's still possible to reach an agreement, but it's going to be tough," Toomey said Sunday on CBS's Face the Nation. "It's been enormously frustrating for me, and for my colleagues."
Toomey, as Republicans have since the debt deal seemed in peril, blamed Democrats for demanding increased taxes on the wealthiest Americans for submarining the supercommittee's work.
The senator also rejected Democratic arguments that Republicans had been unwilling to compromise at all on additional revenues, pointing to a plan he proposed in which Republicans would trade modest tax increases now in exchange for making the Bush tax cuts, set to expire in 2013, permanent.
"This is an indication of how far Republicans would go to find a solution," Toomey said. "It was a reach for us to put that on the table," he added.
Toomey also defended the plan from criticism from those on the right, like anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, who had denounced the plan as a capitulation.
"I think what I've done is consistent with the commitment that I made to my constituents because it would have gotten us that pro-growth tax reform and avoided that tax increase, but I've taken a lot of arrows for this," Toomey said.
Still, Toomey said that while he was upset that the supercommittee looked poised to fail, he did see some positives in how the process worked.
"The silver lining in what is going to be a huge disappointment for me is that we're going to get the spending cuts anyways," Toomey said, referring to the automatic cuts.
But, Toomey said, Congress should work to restructure the way the cuts would be implemented so they did not hurt the Pentagon.
"They're done in a way that is very harmful to our defense," Toomey said.