U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said on Sunday he was “flabbergasted” by the Obama administration’s proposal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, saying Democrats have wasted three weeks on a “nonsense” plan to avert a potential economical crisis.
In an interview on "Fox News Sunday," Boehner told host Chris Wallace that President Barack Obama’s plan to avoid the automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled for January would be impossible for him to pass because the administration proposed more new spending than it has offered in cuts.
Boehner said the White House “has responded with virtually nothing -- they’ve actually asked for more revenue than they’ve been asking for the whole time.”
He told Wallace that the administration’s initial proposal, including $1.6 trillion in tax increases and $400 billion in unspecified spending cuts, was "nonsense" and that the president has wasted the three weeks that have passed since his re-election.
“At the end of the year, they wanted to extend unemployment benefits, they wanted a new stimulus program for infrastructure, they wanted to extend some other tax breaks, and all of this new stimulus spending would literally be more than the spending cuts that he was willing to put on the table,” Boehner said.
During his own tour of the Sunday-morning talk shows, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner defended the White House plan and instead sought to put pressure on the GOP for its resistance to raising taxes on the highest-earning Americans.
“There's not going to be an agreement without rates going up,” Geithner said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” according to The Hill.
Republicans are protesting Obama’s proposal to extend the so-called Bush tax cuts only for those with incomes less than $250,000, despite some GOP legislators' recent statements that they would accept new revenues as part of a plan to avoid the fiscal cliff. But, so far, Republican leaders have said they want those tax rates to be extended across the board, while insisting Democrats must put serious entitlement-spending cuts on the table.
Boehner and other leading Republicans claimed the White House has made no effort to compromise with the GOP regarding the deficit-reduction deal.
“I think we’re going over the cliff. It’s pretty clear to me they made a political calculation,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on CBS News’ "Face the Nation," where he dismissed the White House proposal.
“This offer doesn’t remotely deal with entitlement reform in a way to save Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security from imminent bankruptcy. It raises $1.6 trillion on job creators that will destroy the economy, and there are no spending controls,” Graham said.
Although an increasing number of Republican lawmakers have been backing away from hardline stances against increasing tax rates for the wealthiest Americans, the party leadership so far has refused to include it as part of a compromise with Democrats.