Sen. Chuck Grassley plans to “drive a hard bargain on behalf of the taxpaying public” in meetings of a new group created by the deal to lift the debt ceiling and reopen the federal government.
The 29-member committee began meeting Wednesday to find an agreement between the House and Senate approaches to the nation’s fiscal challenges, growing the economy and addressing the nation’s growing debt. The committee of House and Senate members hand-picked by their leaders has a Dec. 13 deadline to reach an agreement so appropriations committees can draft spending bills to avert another government shutdown Jan. 15 when it’s expected to run out of money.
The Iowa Republican said he will deliver a “simple, straight-forward message that Washington can’t tax, spend, borrow its way to prosperity.”
He’ll face opposition. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he can’t a budget accept a deal that does not include revenues. Majority Democrats have put forward a plan calling for an additional $1 trillion in taxes.
“I disagree with those who believe raising taxes is the solution to reducing deficits and paying down America’s $17 trillion debt,” Grassley told Iowa reporters Wednesday morning after the first meeting of the panel.
President Obama got $600 billion in new taxes “on job-creating American” in fiscal cliff negotiations early this year, Grassley said.
“Now is the time to focus on spending,” the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee said.