WASHINGTON -- With a Thanksgiving deadline fast approaching, the Republican members of a deficit-reduction supercommittee are pressing a plan to cut the deficit by about $1.5 trillion over the coming decade, showing flexibility on tax-revenue increases for the first time while proposing to gradually raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67 for future retirees.
The GOP plan would place sharp limits on the total amount of tax deductions and credits that a person could claim, in exchange for significantly lower income tax rates.
At the same time, Republicans are willing to accept a net increase in individual income tax revenues of about $300 billion over the coming decade.
The proposal also would cut spending by about $700 billion, mixing a less generous cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security beneficiaries with further cuts to agency operating budgets and curbs to the booming growth of Medicare and the Medicaid health care program for the poor and disabled.
Other revenue would come from proposals such as raising Medicare premiums and increasing aviation security fees.
The idea, discussed by a bipartisan subgroup of supercommittee lawmakers Monday evening, contrasts with a Democratic plan introduced last month that proposed revenue increases of about $1.3 trillion that also would be netted after a rewrite of the loophole-cluttered federal tax code.
Both proposals are similar in concept to ideas discussed last summer in negotiations between House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and President Barack Obama.
During talks on legislation needed to increase the government's borrowing cap, Boehner and Obama discussed an overhaul of the tax code that would have garnered $800 billion in new revenue over a decade.
But the Boehner-Obama talks fell apart over taxes and benefit cuts, and the final legislation included cuts to the day-to-day operating budgets of Cabinet agencies totaling $900 billion.