Politics

December 3, 2012

Republicans issue new 'fiscal cliff' offer to Obama

The GOP plan would reduce the deficit by $2.2 trillion over 10 years, while Obama's plan would reduce it by $4.6 billion. But the GOP says their plan would keep tax rates lower.

The Associated Press

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House Speaker John Boehner said the GOP proposal is a "credible plan" for Obama and that he hopes the administration would "respond in a timely and responsible way."

AP

Both ideas were part of negotiations between Boehner and Obama in the summer of last year.

In a letter to the president, Boehner and six other House Republicans insisted that the November election that returned Obama to the White House and the GOP to majority control in the House requires both parties to come together "on a fair middle ground."

"With the fiscal cliff nearing, our priority remains finding a reasonable solution that can pass both the House and Senate, and be signed into law in the next couple of weeks," Republicans wrote.

One of the few things the White House and Capitol Hill Republicans can agree to is a framework that would make a "down payment" on the deficit and extend all or most of the expiring Bush-era tax cuts but leave most of the legislative grunt work until next year.

Signing the letter was Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee and the unsuccessful GOP vice presidential candidate. Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Fred Upton, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the Republican Conference chair, also signed the letter.

Earlier Monday, Obama answered questions on Twitter for an hour as the White House sought to keep up the pressure on the issue.

In response to a question about his insistence on higher tax rates for the wealthiest earners, Obama said that "high end tax cuts do (the) least for economic growth & cost almost $1T." By contrast, he said, "extending middle class cuts boosts consumer demand & growth."

Obama said he was open to "smart cuts" in spending, "but not in areas like R&D" and education, which "help growth & jobs." He also said he opposes spending cuts that would hurt the disabled or other vulnerable groups.

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