A plan to cut spending, adjust the tax code and get the federal budget under control has the support of a Nebraska senator who insists it was never meant to be tied to the debt ceiling.
Sen. Johanns has been meeting with the Gang of Six in the US Senate, working to build support for its plan.
“I do regard this as a positive step forward,” Johanns tells reporters during a conference call.
It would be a step forward to reduce the deficit, according to Johanns, not necessarily to break the logjam in Washington on the debt ceiling negotiations.
“It’s a framework upon which we can start to talk, hopefully in a bi-partisan way, about addressing the future for our children and grandchildren and the ballooning deficit that we are leaving as our legacy if we don’t do anything about it,” Johanns says.
Johanns says there’s much to like in the Gang of Six proposal, though he’s quick to add that he won’t agree with everything in it. Johanns says the adjustments to the tax code would be beneficial. The Gang of Six proposal would lower marginal tax rates, corporate tax rates and eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax. It also proposes ending the tax on foreign sales by United States corporations.
Spending cuts would largely be left in the hands of legislative committees. That has drawn some criticism, but Johanns says it honors the committee process. The Gang of Six would cap spending at 2011 levels. Johanns says he would prefer a more aggressive approach, such as a rollback to 2008 levels, at least. It would also adjust Social Security and Medicare payments to reduce the costs of both programs.