The last best hope to salvage a $1.2 trillion deficit-reduction deal in the Super Committee rests on the shoulders of three Republicans: Michigan Congressman Dave Camp, Ohio Senator Rob Portman and Michigan Congressman Fred Upton. According to a Reuters report late last night, those three members have joined with three Democrats to to consider a modest deficit-reduction plan of $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion. The Democrats include Senator John Kerry, Senator Max Baucus and Congressman Chris Van Hollen. But for any deal to be struck, the Republican members will need to bend on revenue increases, which could include tax reform and closing corporate tax loopholes. While most Republicans in Congress reject any plans that involve revenue increases, Reuters reports that at least two of the three Republicans are willing to include them in a deal. Still, a GOP committee aide stressed to us that this was not a splinter group, rather, the result of smaller meetings of committee members taking place. So who are these Republicans?
Congressman Dave Camp - Camp has a fair amount of expertise on taxes and entitlement programs given his position as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. He's also gained a reputation for being a moderate in some quarters, given his public refusal to take up Paul Ryan's budget plan in his committee, which was red meat for Republicans but a non-starter in the Democrat-controlled Senate. With regards to the revenue increases, Camp's staff declined to comment.
Senator Rob Portman - Another lawmaker who's shown a willingness to budge, Politico wrote of Portman in September that he is "regarded by both parties as a pragmatist and has a record of working across the aisle on issues as diverse as energy efficiency and pension reform. Additionally, "He opposes tax hikes but wants to close tax loopholes and end other special preferences so long as the revenue is used to lower overall rates." Is he one of the three Republicans willing to bend on revenues? A committee aide says Portman has been pushing for "revenue neutral tax reform."
Congressman Fred Upton The Atlantic's Chris Good referred to Upton as "one of the super committee's closest moderates" in August. "Upton chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Rep. Joe Barton, who infamously apologized to BP, relinquished the top GOP spot on Energy and Commerce after the last Congress ended, and in the ensuing power-struggle over the committee chairmanship, Upton had to overcome insinuations that he's not conservative enough." Upton's staff declined to comment on revenue increases.