Republicans still reluctant to put forward their own budget plan

Boehner complains that the talks are leading nowhere, but so far has no counter-offer

Topics: John Boehner, Tom Cole, Barack Obama, Budget Showdown, Fiscal cliff,

Republicans are ever-reluctant to pitch their own plan for averting the “fiscal cliff,” instead complaining that it’s time for the Democrats to get serious on entitlement reform.

In what Paul Krugman described Sunday as the GOP’s “Operation Rolling Tantrum,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, took to the Sunday shows to describe how he was “flabbergasted” at the White House budget proposal, which would include $1.6 trillion in tax increases on the wealthy over the next ten years, as well as additional stimulus spending. “We’re nowhere, period,” Boehner said on Fox News Sunday. “We’re nowhere.”

Democrats say they’re just waiting for a GOP proposal:  “We aren’t going to negotiate with us,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said last week.

“The president is not going to negotiate with himself,” said White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer, the New York Times reports. “He’s laid out his position, and Republicans have to come to the table.”

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner agreed. “They have to tell us what makes sense to them, and then we can take a look at it,” he said on NBC’s Meet the Press. ”But what we can’t do is try to figure out what makes sense for them.” Geithner added that the increased taxes are non-negotiable. “Those rates are going to have to go up,” he said. “That’s an essential part of a deal.”



But Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., implied that Democrats shouldn’t hold their breath for a counter-offer. ”I don’t think we need to put a formal proposal out on the table,” he said on ABC’s This Week. “[Boehner] has already said revenue is on the table. He has got an idea about how to get there in terms of not raises rates, but finding it in other ways through tax code reform. I think that makes a lot of sense, and that’s a doable thing, but beyond that, you know, we’ll wait and see how the negotiations go.”

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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