House Republican leaders on Monday offered their first official counteroffer to the White House in an attempt to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff.”House Speaker John Boehner wrote a letter to President Barack Obama today — which was co-signed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan, among others.
Boehner emphasised in the letter that Republicans would not consider an increase in marginal tax rates, a key element of Obama’s opening offer delivered last week.
Boehner and the other Republicans blast Obama and his opening offer in the letter. They write that if Republicans had been as non-serious as the president in reaching a deal, they would propose the Paul Ryan-backed budget. Instead, it is proposing a more moderate first step which was originally outlined by Democrat Erskine Bowles during last year’s budget fights.
- $800 billion in new tax revenues through closing loopholes and deduction
- Cutting $900 billion in mandatory spending. That would come largely through entitlement cuts, including raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67.
- Cutting $300 billion in discretionary spending
“This is by no means an adequate long-term solution,” the Republicans write, “as resolving our long-term fiscal crisis will require fundamental entitlement reform. Indeed, the Bowles plan is exact lyt he kind of imperfect, but fair middle ground that allows us to avert the fiscal cliff without hurting our economy and creating jobs. We believe it warrants immediate consideration.”
Earlier on Capitol Hill, Boehner expressed more disappointment in the White House’s opening offer, saying it was basically the same thing as his 2011 budget proposal. Boehner said Sunday that he couldn’t believe their opening offer when he first saw it.
“Going over the cliff will hurt our economy and hurt job creation in our country. It’s one of the reasons the day after the election I offered a concession to try and speed this process up. Unfortunately, the White House responded with their ‘La-La-Land’ offer that couldn’t pass the House or Senate and was basically the president’s budget from last February,” Boehner told reporters.