A small group of senators, led by Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), is hard at work looking for a way out of the mandatory caps on defense and non-defense spending.
“What we need to do is buy back sequestration. What we’re trying to do is put together a mini Simpson-Bowles deal,” Graham said in reference to the deficit reduction package offered by former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles.
As with that plan, Graham said he would be willing to consider a combination of tax hikes and entitlement cuts, reported the Hill. The prospective candidate to run for president in 2016 said he would offer to close tax loopholes in exchange for reforms to entitlement programs.
“That’s the ideological problem for some Republicans, but not for me. I would generate some revenue by capping deductions in the tax code if Democrats help me make some small entitlement changes that buy it back … a mini Simpson-Bowles,” he said.
Besides Graham, the group includes Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Angus King (I-Maine), all of whom sit on both the Budget and Armed Services committees.
Kaine promised a sustained effort to eliminate the Budget Control Act caps when the Budget Committee and the full Senate take up the FY 2016 budget resolution.
“Wait and watch what we do during the budget amendment process in the committee because you’re going to see committee amendments and you’re going to see floor amendments dealing with sequestration,” Kaine said.
The lawmakers face long odds even if they reach a deal, with House conservatives likely to oppose any agreement that raises taxes.