Hatch, Obama clash on fiscal cliff in weekly addresses
December 1st, 2012
06:00 AM ET
2 years ago

Hatch, Obama clash on fiscal cliff in weekly addresses

(CNN) – Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah on Saturday railed against White House proposals put forward earlier this week in the ongoing fiscal cliff debate.

"The president has said he wants a so-called balanced approach to solve this crisis," Hatch said in the GOP weekly address. "But what he proposed this week was a classic bait-and-switch on the American people."

At issue is the end-of-the-year deadline for Congress and the White House to find a deficit-reduction agreement in order to avoid automatic tax increases and spending cuts, known as the fiscal cliff.

Republican lawmakers appeared stunned Thursday when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner unveiled details in the president's proposal. A Republican congressional aide familiar with the proposal said it called for $1.6 trillion in tax increases.

"All of that upfront - in exchange for only $400 billion in spending cuts that come later," said the aide, calling the offer "completely unbalanced and unrealistic."

Republican aides said the $1.6 trillion was higher than previously discussed. Democrats said the number should not be a surprise, adding Obama discussed it on the campaign trail.

Hatch on Saturday said the country can't make any headway in reducing the federal deficit until entitlement programs undergo serious reforms.

"But we've seen an utter lack of leadership from President Obama, and his allies on the left have shown little - very little - to no willingness to tackle real, structural entitlement reform," he said. "There is no manner of tax hike that can save Medicare or Medicaid. These programs can only be fixed with real reforms that go to the heart of how they work."

Obama, in his weekly address, also stressed that the clock was ticking.

With the Bush-era tax cuts expiring at the end of the year, both parties agree the cuts should stay in place for roughly 98% of Americans who fall below the income threshold of $250,000.

Republicans want those tax cuts to also remain for high income-earners, or the other 2%.

Democrats, however, insist the tax cuts should expire for the very wealthy and let the rates go up. They also call for closing loopholes, limiting deductions and raising taxes on capital gains for additional revenue.

But with both sides in a stalemate over taxes for the very wealthy, Obama said Congress should come up with a plan right now to extend the tax cuts for the lower 98% and deal with the wealthy at a later date.

"Congress can do that right now. They can give families like yours a sense of security going into the New Year," the president said in his address. "And with the issue behind us, we'll have more time to work out a plan to bring down our deficits in a balanced way - including by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more."

Some House Republicans, notably Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, made headlines this week when they sided with Obama on the tax compromise. His fellow conservatives fired back, saying such a tactic would give Democrats more leverage in the negotiations.

But the president argued it was better to resolve the situation piece-by-piece, rather than run the negotiations down to the wire for one comprehensive package and risk the possibility of no agreement.

"So let's begin by doing what we all agree on. Both parties say we should keep middle-class taxes low," he said. "But it's unacceptable for some Republicans in Congress to hold middle class tax cuts hostage simply because they refuse to let tax rates go up on the wealthiest Americans."

– CNN's Deirdre Walsh and Jessica Yellin contributed to this report.


Filed under: Fiscal Cliff • Orrin Hatch • President Obama
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Francis

    The American People have voted on this. The President has the mandate. Please respect the will of the people.

    December 1, 2012 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  2. vint

    Like the rest of the Republican/conservative/tea party crowd, Sen. Hatch is adept at only three things: obstructionist politics (what the Republican-heavy congress has been practicing for the past four years) a myopic world-view (which they like to pretend EVERY American shares) and being especially loud when widely disseminating their one-sided (often only half-truthful) view of things. I wish more Americans would wake up and replace these Republican politicos. You'd think that after the national debt increased under Reagan, Bush Sr., and Bush jr., the average American would figure out that the lies they sell (trickle down economy; less taxes for the rich, etc., etc.) aren't gonna work this time, either.

    December 1, 2012 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  3. ted van tol

    The republican leadership wants only one thing. Obama's failure and when needed a fiscal cliff is no problem at all. They all sits on thrones with a lot of money. People of the USA have to go out on the street and support his President and vote all the Rep. out the next time.

    December 1, 2012 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  4. Brian Nettles

    We are better to go over the cliff than to do what Obama wants. Balanced approach? Reach across the aisles? He is the most partisan player in the picture. Oh hail King Obama.

    December 1, 2012 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  5. windman4US

    This is wrong – President Obama ran on the platform of raising the taxes on a certain group of wage earners AND spoke of closing some of the loopholes and deducitons. How short is our memory folks?? The same folks that creaed the CDO's packaged securities are the ones the Republicants are protecting right now! Here is what the President is asking for "Democrats, however, insist the tax cuts should expire for the very wealthy and let the rates go up. They also call for closing loopholes, limiting deductions and raising taxes on capital gains for additional revenue." – the Republicans are saying no – it will hurt the job crators - all the while knowing they buried a report out of a non partisan study group that PROVED that lowering taxes does nothing to the economy, as does raising taxes!!

    I challenge the Republicants – let the democrats govern and pass the legislation they want – if it works, then they were right and deserve the opportunity to continue their leadership in 2016 – if they fail, then you get everything back in 2016.....

    December 1, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  6. Capitalist

    Hi Ho, Hi Ho,and over the cliff we go.... Republicans we will remember......

    December 1, 2012 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  7. anonoymous

    Sen Hatch needs to tell his rich buddies the party is over. If only the gop would fight this hard for the middle class....

    December 1, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  8. Anonymous

    Really depressing, you need to cutback across the board Obama, you nut job! Austerity is the only way out of this mess, you're going to have another financial meltdown and very soon, and this again will be a global.

    December 1, 2012 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  9. Russ in MD

    I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

    December 1, 2012 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  10. Mitch Hatheway

    As a Canadian observer to this political gridlock I am confounded by the partisian antics on both sides of the aisle. Both parties must compromise, this is no time for gamesmanship.Advice to the republicans: your country's welfare is more important than Norquist's narcissistic tactics-break your pledge and you should get re-elected. To the democrats: you can't keep spending money your government doesn't have- so stop it! To Obama: you won the election so stop grandstanding , sit down with the leaders of the opposition and work this out ! To all politicians – show leadership and do what is right for the country and not what is right for your career

    December 1, 2012 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  11. naksuthin

    multi millionaire Orrin Hatch of Utah doesn't want HIS taxes to go up.
    So what else is new?
    All those rich Republican fat cats in Congress are trying to cry "poor me"

    December 1, 2012 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  12. Gurgyl

    Congress is very toxic.

    December 1, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  13. Rick McDaniel

    Obama is a complete and total spendthrift. Everyone knows that, even his own supporters.

    Time for reality to come to the WH, and for the House to say NO to what he wants, and stand firm. The only way Obama can get around that, is to OPENLY become the dictator he really is, by taking over Congress. Then the people can see the truth......that Obama is simply a dictator, seeking total control over America.

    December 1, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  14. Dan

    My most indelible memory of Orrin Hatch will always be him fighting so hard to cut the funding to No Child Left Behind. Bush and Ted Kennedy had passed the bill and funding. Hatch twisted the facts on the Bill so much that it was comical, all to rip the agreed upon funds from it, arguing that public schools are way over funded. Now I have no doubt he will argue that the wealthiest American's are way under funded. Stealing from the poor to give to the rich.

    December 1, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  15. Randy, San Francisco

    The GOP/Tea Party brand will forever be known as the party of "Wall Street and the wealthiest 1%. Add this to the list of reasons why the GOP/Tea Party is shrinking.

    December 1, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  16. Anonymous

    If Republicans don't like Obama's proposal, let them counter with one of their own. As it is, Cantor has just approved next year's calender and based on all the days off he's giving himself and Congress - Congress will only be In Session 126 days in 2013 - not much else is going to get done by yet another Republican controlled DO NOTHING Congress.

    December 1, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  17. spiris333

    With the re-election of a fiscally ignorant president, America's chances of recovering it's once proud heritage is bleak at best. The liberals in this country have created a society that expects handouts from the working class to provide cradle to grave care. To quote a song, "tax the rich, feed the poor, until there are no rich no more". Obama's destruction of America continues, and we only have ourselves to blame.

    December 1, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  18. dntmclain

    Hatch is the typical Republican using tactics that are making the Republican party impotent in the eyes of Americans. This moron just implied it was the Democrats holding hostage the middle class tax increases. When Boehner just turned down a motion to eliminate middle class tax increases just this week from his own Republicans..

    December 1, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |