The White House said this morning that President Barack Obama would veto House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to avert the so-called fiscal cliff “in the unlikely event of its passage.”Frustrated with the pace of negotiations on Tuesday, Boehner announced a “Plan B,” which he intends to bring to the House floor for a vote. It includes tax hikes for incomes above $1 million, while the Bush-era tax cuts would remain in place for all other income brackets.
Since then, the White House has launched an assault on the plan. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney panned it in a statement on Tuesday.
Here’s the full statement from White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer today:
The American people have been clear that they will not accept an economic approach that places too big of a burden on the middle class, seniors, students and the most vulnerable Americans while asking too little of the wealthiest Americans. The Congressional Republican “Plan B” legislation continues large tax cuts for the very wealthiest individuals – on average, millionaires would see a tax break of $50,000 – while eliminating tax cuts that 25 million students and families struggling to make ends meet depend on and ending critical incentives for our nation’s businesses. It would also cut off a vital lifeline of unemployment assistance to 2 million Americans fighting to find a job just a few days after Christmas, while deeply cutting Medicare. The deficit reduction is minimal, and perversely, given its authors, solely through tax increases with no spending cuts. This approach does not meet the test of balance, and the President would veto the legislation in the unlikely event of its passage.
The President believes this moment presents both sides an opportunity to reach a significant, balanced deal that is good for American families, the economy and for our nation’s future. He has put forward a proposal that meets the Speaker halfway on both taxes and spending, offering to work with Republicans to cut spending by an additional more than one trillion dollars beyond what he has already signed into law. The President urges the Republican leadership to work with us to resolve remaining differences and find a reasonable solution to this situation today instead of engaging in political exercises that increase the possibility that taxes go up on every American. The American people are watching closely and deserve no less.
UPDATE: The back-and-forth continues, as Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck called the White House’s pushback “bizarre”:
“The White House’s opposition to a back-up plan to ensure taxes don’t rise on American families is growing more bizarre and irrational by the day. Republicans have always said a broader, ‘balanced’ plan is the ideal solution, and we have put one forward. In the absence of a ‘balanced’ solution from the President, however, we must act to stop taxes from rising across the board in 12 days. If Democrats disapprove of this bill, then there is a simple solution: amend it in the Senate and send it back to the House.”