Democrats deny walking out of super committee talks

Republican claims that Democrats "walked away from the table" in super committee talks Tuesday night are false, Senate Democrats said on Wednesday. A GOP aide to a committee member told reporters that Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., "handily rejected" an offer from Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., in a meeting Tuesday night in Kerry's hideaway office. Also present were Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, the aides said. Toomey's offer would eliminate various tax deductions in exchange for extension of the 28 percent marginal tax rates lowered during the George W. Bush administration. Democrats said the offer would increase the deficit by trillions of dollars. "They have now walked away," said the GOP aide. "We are still at the table and we hope they come back." Several Democrats, however, said the claim is false. "That's absolutely ridiculous," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., a super committee member, said Wednesday afternoon while on his way into a meeting with other House Democrats on the panel. He said the co-chairs have continued to talk this week. "We haven't stepped away from anything," added Murray, the panel's Democratic co-chair. "There is a lot of conversation, a lot of work going on. We understand the deadline in front of us." An aide to a committee Democrat said, "If their last, best offer is a plan that provides a massive tax rate cut for the very wealthiest Americans, then they're not serious about getting a deal. Democrats remain at the table waiting for them to come up with something realistic."
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