Recently, Republicans who voted to repeal a tax subsidy for ethanol production drew criticism from Grover Norquist, a prominent anti-tax activist, for not applying the savings to deficit reduction.
Even so, in the hours after the Gang of Six briefed other lawmakers on their plan, at least one member of the Republican Senate leadership, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, signed on as a supporter. So, too, did Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas Republican.
“We have an opportunity to act like statesmen and avoid a debacle on Aug. 2, and it seems to me that all of our efforts should be focused on that,” added Sen. Roger Wicker, Mississippi Republican. He and others said the plan was well received at a weekly closed-door meeting of GOP senators.
He also noted that the Senate’s two top leaders have been cooperating on a measure that would allow him to raise the debt limit without a prior vote of Congress while also setting up a special committee to recommend cuts to federal programs, including Social Security and Medicare.
“That continues to be a necessary approach to put forward. In the event that we don’t get an agreement, at minimum, we’ve got to raise the debt ceiling,” he said.
Associated Press writers Alan Fram, Jim Abrams, Erica Werner, Stephen Ohlemacher, Darlene Superville and Andrew Taylor contributed to this article.
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