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Griffin: Losing hope committee will address taxes

Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin said Tuesday he's losing hope that a bipartisan "supercommittee" that faces a Thanksgiving deadline to reduce the nation's deficit will also tackle tax reform as part of that effort.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin said Tuesday he's losing hope that a bipartisan "supercommittee" that faces a Thanksgiving deadline to reduce the nation's deficit will also tackle tax reform as part of that effort.

The freshman Republican congressman told members of the Political Animals Club that he had hoped the panel would address taxes. The committee of six Democrats and six Republicans was created through a deficit reduction package passed by Congress in August. It is charged with reducing the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over the next decade, and a round of automatic cuts would be triggered if the committee cannot reach agreement.

"To do things bold like tax reform, that's a very complicated process and you're not going to do that over the weekend," Griffin told reporters after speaking at the club's breakfast meeting. "There's still some time, but time is passing."

Griffin voted for the debt-limit increase legislation that included the creation of the deficit committee. He said Tuesday that he believed the panel would come up with an agreement on spending by the Thanksgiving deadline to avoid the automatic cuts.

If it fails, or if Congress refuses to adopt the committee's proposals the automatic spending cuts would be enacted starting in 2013.

"If I were to say to you, we're going to trim your budget and would you rather we just go through and willy-nilly cut or would you like to have a say in what we cut, you'd like to have a say, wouldn't you?" Griffin said.

Griffin, who planned to host a conference on job creation at the Clinton Presidential Library on Wednesday, criticized President Barack Obama's now-defunct jobs bill.

The president's efforts to get his entire $447 billion bill passed were blocked by Senate Republicans, leaving Obama and his Democratic allies to push for the proposals to be passed individually or in smaller bills. Griffin said he doesn't believe the plan will address the country's economic problems.

"When I see that, I say `There may be some good things in there that people like and we can talk about and debate,' but that's not going to fix the bigger, broader problems we have," he said.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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