Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan on Sunday attempted to clarify the plan that he and Mitt Romney have put forth to reduce the deficit, saying they aim to raise revenue not by increasing tax rates, but by ending certain loopholes and deductions for the wealthy.
The House Budget Committee chairman, however, did not elaborate on which loopholes he would plug, saying those decisions should be made in a public debate.
On CBS's "Face the Nation," Ryan said their plan would change "the way we raise revenue by plugging loopholes and tax shelters that are uniquely enjoyed by higher-income earners." Meanwhile, he said, middle-income earners would receive tax breaks.
Pressed further on which loopholes he would amend, Ryan did not name any specifics.
"It's not what loopholes are out there, but who gets them," he said. "And we're saying by not having higher-income earners utilize these tax shelters, we can lower tax rates on everybody, because they pay more of their income to taxation."
Romney's tax plan calls for 20% cuts to current Bush-era income tax rates. He would also eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax. Democrats, however, point to a Tax Policy Center report released in August that determined Romney's plan would provide large tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans while increasing the tax burden on the lower and middle classes.
Ryan insisted President Barack Obama's tax proposal, a measure that would raise taxes on households making at least $250,000 per year, would place burdens on certain small-business owners and have a crippling effect on the economy.
He later added: "We can lower tax rates by plugging loopholes and still maintain special preferences for middle-class taxpayers, not for higher-income taxpayers though."
Ryan said he and Romney would decide on the loopholes by having "a debate out in front" and "work with Congress, work with the public, to find out what are the priorities."
Romney also talked about the tax plan in an interview that aired Sunday, saying Democrats were putting out myths by saying the Romney-Ryan ticket wants to cut taxes for the rich. He asserted that a Romney administration would not "lower taxes on high income people."
"We're not going to have high income people pay less of the tax burden than they pay today. That's not what's going to happen," Romney said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I do want to bring taxes down for middle income people. In particular I want middle income Americans not to have to pay taxes on interest and dividends and capital gains."
On Sunday, Obama seemingly took aim at Ryan over his refusal Sunday morning to further outline the tax changes supported by the GOP ticket.
Obama defended his plans, which he said would bring down the deficit and simplify the tax code. He described the plans proposed by the other side of the aisle as "bad math," not "bold leadership."