Supercommittee Democrats Call Co-Chair Hensarling’s Comments Unhelpful

J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

During an appearance on CNBC last night, the Republican co-chair of the Supercommittee, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, drew a super specific line in the proverbial Supercommittee sand, saying Republicans have “gone as far as we feel we can go” in agreeing to new tax revenues.

“Any penny of increased static revenue is a step in the wrong direction,” Hensarling, R-TX., said. “We can only balance that with pro-growth reforms, and, frankly, the Democrats have never agreed [to] that, so I don’t know how many times I can tell you that that agreement is not going to happen.”

Hensarling said that Republicans have agreed to $250 billion in tax increases over the next decade, but that’s about as far as Republicans will go even with Democratic insistence to go further.

Democratic members of the Supercommittee huddled today for more than two hours and, after emerging from the closed-door meeting, said drawing lines in the sand as Hensarling did last night – at least in public – is not helpful, especially now when they are within the one-week deadline to reach an agreement.

“I think when people go public and say what they’re willing or not willing to do, it isn’t as helpful as sitting at a table and trying to work through these things,” Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said. “I’m not going to negotiate in public; I am not going to get into the back and forth. I don’t think it’s helpful. I think what we need to do is sit down with each other and make choices.”

Co-chair of the committee, Sen. Patty Murray., D-Wash., said that she heard Hensarling’s comments on CNBC last night as well.

“I hope that they have not walked away,” Murray said of Hensarling’s insistence that Republicans will not go any further. “We are working very hard to find a place that we can move forward on and we’re going to continue to do that.” As the Democratic members of the Supercommittee met today, so did the Republican members of the committee on the House side of the Capitol.

Republican members say they are waiting for a new Democratic offer. Democratic members saying they are waiting for a new Republican offer.

Aides continue to stress that there are small meetings taking place all day, yet no full meeting of the Supercommittee has been scheduled, as they all continue to negotiate a deal behind-closed-doors.