Democrats want tax hikes to be the first item negotiated in “super committee” deficit-reduction talks, trying to force Republicans to confront an issue at the heart of this year’s budget fights, sources told Reuters.

The tough stance by Democratic members of the powerful 12-member congressional panel reflects the party’s wariness that Republicans might try to sideline the issue of revenue increases in the negotiations.

“They’ve raised the idea of doing taxes first,” a Republican aide involved in the discussions said on Friday on condition of anonymity.

If Democrats hold firm to their demand for taxes to be discussed first, that could make it hard for the committee to make the tight November deadline. Congress is due to vote on the panel’s recommendations by December 23.

Another congressional aide, who also did not want to be identified, confirmed that among Democrats, “there is an effort to try to discuss revenues” now.

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