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House Republicans make counter offer to Obama's fiscal cliff non-starter

By Doug Powers  •  December 3, 2012 07:36 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

President Obama’s opening bid, which consisted of tax increases and more stimulus in 2013 along with unilateral presidential authority to raise the debt ceiling, was received with a laugh.

Today’s GOP counter offer will get a similar reaction because it doesn’t include tax hikes on the “rich” the White House insists must be included in any deal.

From The Hill:

House Republican leaders have made a counteroffer to President Obama in the fiscal cliff negotiations, proposing to cut $2.2 trillion with a combination of spending cuts, entitlement reforms and $800 billion in new tax revenue.

The leaders delivered the offer to the White House on Monday with a three-page letter (PDF) signed by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), and four other senior Republicans, including Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the party’s just-defeated vice presidential nominee.

Republican officials said the offer was based on a proposal outlined by Erskine Bowles, the former chief of staff to President Clinton, in testimony last year before the congressional “supercommittee” on deficit reduction. That offer is distinct from the widely-cited Simpson-Bowles deficit plan released two years ago.

Initial response from the White House was predictable:

Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, said the plan “does not meet the test of balance.”

“Their plan includes nothing new and provides no details on which deductions they would eliminate, which loopholes they will close or which Medicare savings they would achieve,” he said. “While the president is willing to compromise to get a significant, balanced deal and believes that compromise is readily available to Congress, he is not willing to compromise on the principles of fairness and balance that include asking the wealthiest to pay higher rates … Until the Republicans in Congress are willing to get serious about asking the wealthiest to pay slightly higher tax rates, we won’t be able to achieve a significant, balanced approach to reduce our deficit our nation needs.”

A “balanced approach to reduce our deficit”? Obama’s initial bid proposed cutting nothing, raising taxes $1.6 trillion and giving himself unlimited authority to raise the debt ceiling. At least if we go off the cliff they’re seeing to it that there will be plenty to laugh at.

Balanced approach

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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