Dems Preparing to Renew Push for Revenue Increases on Proposed Deficit Panel

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Democratic officials indicated Sunday that they would revive their push for revenue increases later this year, presuming Congress can first clear away the immediate crisis over the debt ceiling.

The Senate is hard at work crafting a potential compromise package to both raise the debt cap and cut spending. Leaders are trying to get a package out of Congress and to the president's desk in the next two days to avoid the possibility of default.

An emerging compromise includes a component that some Democrats see as a way to bring "balance" back to the deficit-reduction push -- after recent plans relied on spending cuts only to achieve savings.

Under the outline of the new plan, Congress would approve spending cuts worth about $900 billion now and create a committee to find at least another $1.5 trillion in savings by the end of the year.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Sunday that Democrats will "fight" for revenue increases as part of that process.

"There's going to be a lot of tough decisions on the committee. The committee has no restraints on it. We will fight very hard for revenues on that committee if it should come to exist," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

Schumer also said Democrats will be "adamant" that the committee should not cut benefits in Medicare, though he conceded the committee could extract savings by cutting "waste and inefficiency" in the system.

White House senior adviser David Plouffe, speaking on ABC's "This Week," said he's confident that the committee's recommendations would be "balanced" -- the word the White House has consistently used to signal the inclusion of revenue increases. He noted that House Speaker John Boehner was initially working with the White House on a plan that included $800 billion in revenue.

If the committee is approved as part of a new compromise, it remains to be seen whether the kind of revenue increases Democrats are talking about would be tantamount to a tax hike.

Some Republicans have said they favor tax reform so long as it broadens the base and simplifies the code without raising rates.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that while the committee would have a "broad mandate," the goal of tax reform is supported by "virtually every Republican I know."

But McConnell said that Republicans would also "fully expect" the panel to deal with entitlement reform.

He stressed that the commission could make significant changes and is not symbolic.

"This is not another commission. There are no outsiders on this. This is a joint committee of Congress, dead even between Republicans and Democrats. They will come back with a report of legislation, a piece of legislation that will be voted on up or down in the House and Senate," he said on "Face the Nation."

Under the framework being discussed, both parties would have an incentive to compromise on the committee. The details are still being worked out, but lawmakers plan to include a provision that would trigger severe spending cuts -- including to defense -- if the committee's plan is not approved.