Congressional Republicans dug in to fight President Barack Obama’s plan to skirt the fiscal cliff, rejecting his tax-and-spending proposal as the president heads out today to sell it to the American public.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner shuttled among congressional leaders yesterday with a plan to trade $1.6 trillion in tax increases for $400 billion in unspecified entitlement program cuts, Republican congressional aides said.
Republicans complained that the offer was little more than a rehash of old budget proposals, setting the stage for more contentious negotiations over the next several weeks as the year-end deadline approaches for more than $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases to kick in.
“If the president is going to lead on this critical issue, he has to propose a plan that can actually pass,” said Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri. “This is simply not a serious proposal.”
Geithner’s offer, as described by two Republican aides, is based on Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget and his 2011 proposal to the deficit-cutting supercommittee, which last year didn’t come up with a plan all sides could accept.
It would raise taxes for top earners by $1.6 trillion over the next decade with higher rates on income, capital gains, dividends and estates, along with limits on tax breaks. It would call for about $400 billion in cuts to entitlement programs, which Republicans have deemed insufficient.
The plan would either extend or replace a payroll tax cut that is set to expire at the end of the year, according to the Republican aides. It would protect millions more people from having to pay the alternative-minimum tax and defer by a year the federal spending cuts set to start taking effect in January.