GOP counteroffers on “fiscal cliff”

Boehner proposes raising $800 billion in tax revenues while keeping the Bush tax rates in place

Topics: John Boehner, Republicans, Tax cuts, Barack Obama, Fiscal cliff,

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, sent President Obama a letter with a counteroffer to the president’s budget plan, which outlines a plan to net savings of $2.2 trillion but still pushes for the Bush-era tax rates to be extended.

Boehner’s plan is one previously outlined by Erskine Bowles, who co-chaired last year’s failed deficit commission, which included spending cuts and $800 billion in new revenue through reforming the tax code.

“The new revenue in the Bowles plan would not be achieved through higher tax rates, which we continue to oppose and will not agree to in order to protect small businesses and our ailing economy,” Boehner wrote. “Instead, new revenue would be generated through pro-growth tax reform that closes special-interest loopholes and deductions while lowering rates. On the spending side, the Bowles recommendation would cut more than $900 billion in mandatory spending and another $300 billion in discretionary spending. These cuts would be over and above the spending reductions enacted in the Budget Control Act.”

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As the Washington Post points out, this is the first time Republicans other than Boehner — including Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who all undersigned Boehner’s letter — have publicly said they support new tax revenues. From the Post:

The plan also seeks $600 billion in health savings; one option, GOP aides said, would be raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67. It also includes $300 billion in savings from other mandatory programs, such as farm subsidies. And it would save $200 billion by applying a less generous measure of inflation government-wide, including to Social Security benefits, which would rise more slowly as a result.

The plan came in response to one released by President Obama last week, which would raise $1.6 trillion in tax revenue, with a proposed $350 billion in savings from entitlement programs.

“Going over the cliff will hurt our economy and hurt job creation in our country,” Boehner said at a press conference detailing the plan. “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.”

“What we’re putting forth is a credible plan that is worth serious consideration” he added.

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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