Fiscal stalemate: A new proposal and more accusations
November 30th, 2012
08:09 AM ET
7 months ago

Fiscal stalemate: A new proposal and more accusations

Washington (CNN) - The White House and Congressional Republicans are squaring off in negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff, with each side accusing the other of blocking a deal.

For the first time we're getting a look at what the White House is offering to break the stalemate. Republicans consider it an overreach. Democrats make clear it's a first offer, to get specific on the numbers.

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Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House Director of Legislative Affairs Rob Nabors presented the details while making the rounds on Capitol Hill Thursday.

The headlines? The White House is asking for $1.6 trillion dollars in new taxes. This would include the president's campaign pledge to raise tax rates on families who make $250,000 a year and more. It would bring in additional money by closing loopholes, limiting deductions, raising the estate tax rate to 2009 levels and increasing capital gains and dividends taxes.

Republican sources tell CNN the $1.6 trillion figure is higher than any number the White House had previously presented and was so disarming, according to one source, it set the talks back.

Democrats say the GOP is feigning outrage. In September 2011, Obama first proposed raising taxes one and a half trillion dollars - at that time to pay for the so-called Jobs Bill. Republicans dismissed it as a political stunt with no chance of movement.

It would seem the White House is digging in on its position on taxes - or at least making their stance clearer to the Republicans and the public.

Reflecting a new aggressive posture by the Democrats, the proposal laid out by Geithner also called for additional spending, including $50 billion in new stimulus spending next year, a home mortgage refinancing plan, an extension of unemployment insurance and an extension of the payroll tax cut. It includes a permanent mechanism to vote on a debt limit increase, which would avoid the kind of crisis the U.S. faced in the summer of 2011.

In return, according to multiple sources, the Obama administration is offering to find $400 billion in new cuts to Medicare and other entitlement programs, with the specifics to be hammered out next year.

While Republicans called these proposals unbalanced and unreasonable, White House aides made clear the president is ready to take a counter offer.

This all amounts to an elaborate negotiating dance. With time running out until tax rates automatically rise and drastic spending cuts kick in - part of the so-called sequester - both sides are playing for leverage against the clock.

Democrats are emboldened by electoral successes and that the president won a second term while pledging to do what the Republicans are still objecting to: raise tax rates for the wealthiest. Democrats believe the Republicans must and will relent on that point.

To that end, CNN learned in a phone call Wednesday night Obama told Boehner there would be no deal unless the GOP agrees to raise tax rates for the wealthiest. That means recently floated alternatives – including closing loopholes or limiting deductions - would not be enough on their own. Rates must go up as well for the top 2% of income earners.

Republicans tried to turn the conversation away from taxes, insisting the real debate should be about spending cuts.

"Despite claims that the president supports a balanced approach, Democrats have yet to get serious about real spending cuts," Boehner told reporters Thursday.

Reflecting a growing sense of pessimism among Republicans, the speaker added, "no substantive progress has been made in the talks between the White House and the House over the lat two weeks."

In a statement that accused Republicans of blocking a deal to protect "the very wealthiest individuals," White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest responded to the GOP in an email.

"The President has already signed into law over $1 trillion in spending cuts and we remain willing to do tough things to compromise, and it's time for Republicans in Washington to join the chorus of other voices - from the business community to the middle class Americans across the country - who support a balanced approach that asks more from the wealthiest Americans," Earnest said.


Filed under: Fiscal Cliff • John Boehner • President Obama
soundoff (266 Responses)
  1. jkane sfl gop mascots the blubbering slobs allen west rover nitwitquest rick scott ,carl rove and donald dump ??????

    The dems didn't sign any pledge to the crook gop lobbyist rover nitwitwuest to sell their vote to the highest bidder ,the gop did and will pay dearly for it in the next elections!!!!

    November 30, 2012 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  2. Wake up People!

    The republicans need to realize Willard LOST. President Obama is the POTUS. Stop acting like sore losers and shape up or ship out.

    November 30, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  3. Lance D.

    The Obama/Romney W.H. Lunch Set-Up failed - Deval Patrick behind the scenes - All the visuals and symbolisms: Ann Romney's Turkey Chili served in HN to kick off Romney campaign. The side door entrance with Inuaguration stage visible. Larry Flynt and GOP know something better. Obama/Patrik Big Bird Berkshire Love Nest (wink)

    November 30, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    The political Kabuki Theater in Washington is getting to be tiresome and annoying. Time for elected officials to read Profiles in Courage and stand up to extremists on both sides of the aisle.

    November 30, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  5. Lance D.

    Notice that Obama kept his other hand in pants pocket instead of patting Romney's shoulder for photo-op? Romney smirking - the pre-meeting with Ryan about what GOP knows on his mind - Deval Patrick must be fuming and angry at his idiot failed lover - Behind the scenes politics at its best (wink)

    November 30, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  6. Lance D.

    Does CNN like how the GOP began to challenge personnel and the way you covered election stories?

    November 30, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  7. Lance D.

    Romney's international influence has been grossly underestimated - U.N. bucked U.S. sentiment - do you think Obama got the message about growing international community opinion towards the U.S.? Palestine was only the beginning. Obama and Patrick had no clue. GOP knows much more than they think.

    November 30, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  8. jpmichigan

    Once again business as usual from the Democrats and the Obama administration, in other words, we will listen with deaf ear to what the Republicans have to offer, but do what we want regardless, so no REAL bipartismship just let it look like it, to be able to blame the Republicans if we go over the fiscal cliff. So I, and many other Americans, say let the fun begin, lets go over the cliff, and wait until next years for some real serios compromising on behalf of the American people. Obma wants to take, but not give. Talking already about more stimulus money, so he is continuing what he start 4 years ago, by 2016 we will be $ 20 + trillion in debit, and an active part of the Europeans begging for money to survive.

    November 30, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  9. Phyllis G Williams

    America has billions of dollars. There is no fiscal cliff, but the people who labored to get you rich, you want them to pay
    your bills "Unto whomsoever much is given, of him should be much required: and to whom Men have committed much, of him they will ask the more (Luke 12: 48). Wake up Billionaires! If you Love it, Clear your Country (Job 1: 21)

    November 30, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  10. Anonymous

    Time for Boehner to admit he doesn't have a leg to stand on. He's on shaky enough ground as it is now. Delaying the inevitable is going to make his unhappy campers even more unhappy then they already are. They've been lied to over and over again by their party leadership, their main information source (FOX, Limbaugh), and by Boehner himself. Wishing for another ecomonic meltdown just to get even with Obama supporters isn't going to cut it in 2014. America has already suffered enough because of Republican control. But do push it to the limit, Republicans. It's done nothing but good for the other side.

    November 30, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  11. Donkey Party

    Lance D. – What the hell are you blathering about?

    jpmichigan – You're joking, right? The Republicans REFUSE to make any compromise, and they will be held accountable for pushing us over the fiscal cliff. The GOP are domestic terrorists, holding the country hostage to meet their demands. Anyone who supports them is guilty of giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

    November 30, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  12. Anthony

    Jpmichigan, what is the Republican offer? Can you spell it out? Remember, Republicans lost the election. They are the ones who need to offer bigger concessions, not the president.

    November 30, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  13. Jerubbaal

    Last year Boehner stated that he got 98 percent of what he wanted but would not close the deal because he thought the repubs would win the WH and senate. That failed to materialize and due to his decision his hand has been weakened. Pres Obama has the backing of the American people on the way forward so the repubs need to accept their defeat and weakened hand and fall in line as Rep Cole has stated. They appear to be nothing more than obstructionists and delusional. Their alternate perception of reality is destroying their brand and this country. They need to put their country first and not their pledge to Grover Norquist. As Rep Cole stated stop holding the middle class hostage in these negotiations and do the right thing for America and Americans.

    November 30, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  14. Just a thought

    @jpmich,

    ....again why should the president or the dems listen to anything from the re-dumblicans, except for instructions on how to become idiots? Every one of the re-dumblican policies are proven failures:

    Foreign Policy failures: Iraq and Afghanistan / no WMD's and failure to get Bin Laden- thousands of americans dead here and abroad
    Economic Policy failures: Tax cuts "for job creators – LOL" without spending reductions. Results in blowing a surplus and deficits as far as the eye can see. Massive job losses, an economic meltdown not seen since the great depression.

    Why should the dems listen to proven failures again?

    November 30, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  15. ST

    Republicans must stop protecting the rich. Majority have voiced their will: "tax the rich". There is nothing to negotiate about the will of people. Is this difficult to understand and act?????

    November 30, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  16. James Hartman

    The President has offered his proposal, the republican "leadership" have summarily dismissed it. Okay, let's hear your proposal, Mr. Bohner.

    November 30, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  17. Washington Is Out Of Touch with reality

    obama just plays the stupid people who voted for him, he is actually useless

    November 30, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  18. Harry 101

    You Democratic supporters are right the GOP lossed by a whole 3 million votes. The President can and should receive whatever bill he wants. The 48% that voted against him just must all be fools. One Party, One voice and thats all that should be heard right. Take FOX off the air censer those that disagree. Only Obama as the leader with all power yes thats the way it should be. NO OTHER OPTION ALLOWED EVER OBAMA IS THE VICTOR.

    November 30, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  19. dreamer96

    Hi Ho.. Hi Ho.. Off the Fiscal Cliff We Go......
    Hi Ho.. Hi Ho.. Off the Fiscal Cliff We Go.......
    And in the process we will finally get rid of Grover Norquest, his pledge, and the Bush Tax Cuts....
    Hi Ho.. Hi Ho.. Off the Fiscal Cliff We Go.....

    November 30, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  20. Me IN HOUSTON

    The Republicans should stop protecting the rich and just give in the President's demands.
    They need to give up...just let go

    November 30, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  21. ronvan

    POLITICS AS USUAL!! "Bonehead" is dangerous! The REPUKS LOST, cannot get over it, cannot understand why, cannot realize THEY are the ones that need to comprimise! And all we can do is sit back and watch this disgusting, worthless, bantering back and forth! When are WE the people going to realize that the TRUST we gave this people has been thrown in the toilet? They DO NOT care about US! They are more concerned with THEIR beleifs and personal goals than helping our country!

    November 30, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  22. Rick McDaniel

    CNN doesn't report what Obama has really demanded.......

    No debt ceiling
    Congress relinquishes budget control power to Obama
    More runaway spending

    These are moves to dictatorship in America. The people made a huge mistake in returning this man to office. All he really seeks to do is to bankrupt both the government, and personal wealth, and seize dictatorial control of the country, where only he and his cronies have any power.

    CNN covers up the truth, because they are under the control of the Democratic Party.

    November 30, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  23. The Real Tom Paine

    @ Lance D: any other conspiracy theories you want to put forth? The Freemasons, perhaps, or the Illuminati?

    November 30, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  24. Gregory M. Newbold

    Two lies that destroy the GOP`s tax policy [& related ECONOMY] falacies.

    1.) Tax cuts creates jobs. They DON`T and why would they. Businessmen want to maximize profits by matching labor [read JOBS] to market demands [read STIMULUS/ SPENDING] by consumers, companies & governments. Cutting a company`s taxes, or the owner`s taxes, DOES NOTHING to spur demand and therefore jobs.

    2.) Higher taxes will thwart entreprenuership, business formation/ expansion. It won`t. People start their own businesses because they want to make more money and they see a way to do so. They want more $$ to buy the house in the Hamptons or La Jolla. They want to pick up the rolex and canary yellow Ferrari. They want the hot babe with the banging body to throw herself at them. The fact that the tax rate will go up and they only keep $600,000 of the next $1M they earn [aftertax] instead of $660,000 WILL NOT deter or retard them. If 1 "job creator" doesn`t fill the need, another will.

    That`s capitalism Republicans. Don`t try to pervert it.

    November 30, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  25. rs

    Jpmichigan-
    The Republicans have no plan and are not compromising. Look- the CBO and the CRS both report 30 years of tax cuts to the rich produce almost no jobs at all- all it does is make the rich richer with gross tax cuts. Do you REALLY think the poor, the elderly and the Middle class should pay for the GOP spending spree of 2000-2008? If you do you are simply immoral.

    November 30, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
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