Cole: Obama's proposal a 'Christmas wish list'
December 2nd, 2012
12:22 PM ET
2 years ago

Cole: Obama's proposal a 'Christmas wish list'

(CNN) – Scoffing at President Barack Obama's deficit-reduction proposal, Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma on Sunday likened the fiscal cliff plan to a child’s overly optimistic holiday list.

"I want to thank the president and Tim Geithner for reuniting and re-energizing the Republican caucus," he said. "That offer - they must think John Boehner is Santa Claus because that's a Christmas wish list, not a real proposal."

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On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner presented a proposal that calls for $1.6 trillion in increased revenue, some of it the result of higher tax rates for families making more than $250,000 a year. Obama also wants to close loopholes, limit deductions, raise the estate tax rate to 2009 levels and increase taxes on capital gains and dividend taxes.

The proposal further calls for additional spending, including a new $50 billion stimulus package, a home mortgage refinancing plan and an extension of unemployment insurance benefits.

In return, multiple sources told CNN, Obama is offering $400 billion in new cuts to Medicare and other entitlement programs. Specifics on cuts would be decided next year, the sources said.

But Republicans say the plan is full of unexpected measures and fault the president for starting the negotiations with what they describe as an outlandish offer.

"At the end of the day, do I think we'll arrive at a deal? Yeah, I actually do. But I think it's a lot of tough negotiation ahead of time," Cole said on ABC's "This Week."

The Oklahoma congressman made headlines this week when he suggested that Congress pass a deal piece by piece and immediately extend tax cuts for the 98% of Americans who fall below the $250,000 threshold, then negotiate later over the remaining top 2% of taxpayers.

Ultimately, however, Cole said he would stand by his party no matter what decision was reached.

For their part, Democrats say Republicans have failed to put forward any specifics, other than the fact that they're open to raising revenue by closing loopholes and putting new limits on deductions.

Geithner insisted the administration would not come forward with any new proposals that don't include an increase in tax rates for the wealthy.

"It's a very good plan and we think it's a good basis for these conversations," Geithner said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Cole, meanwhile, defended his party by saying he sees no reason for Republicans to present a formal proposal when House Speaker John Boehner has already offered a concession by allowing revenue on the table.

"There's a little (game of) chicken going on here in terms of gamesmanship," Cole said.

Dan Senor, a former campaign adviser to Mitt Romney, agreed that the GOP has no obligation to present a formal proposal. He said on the same ABC program that it was "hard to have a reasonable response" to what he called the president's extreme plan.


Filed under: Fiscal Cliff • John Boehner • President Obama
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. john

    Looks like Cole is swinging a little back to the right. Must have realized his earlier comments hinting to concession would get him in trouble with the Taliban.

    December 2, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. CAWinMD

    Cole, meanwhile, defended his party by saying he sees no reason for Republicans to present a formal proposal when House Speaker John Boehner has already offered a concession by allowing revenue on the table.

    Really? Some vague promise of maybe raising revenue, we don't know by how much, and we certainly don't know how, and that's the same as Obama's proposal? Obama has made a concession by considering entitlement reform. The last time he did that the Republicans hammered him in the election for "cutting" $716 billion out of Medicare. Republicans just don't seem to understand that they have ZERO CREDIBILITY. They have yet to negotiate anything in good faith with this President. The onus is on them to show that they are responsible negotiating partners. The way to prove that is to come forward with something specific - how much in cuts and where, how much in revenue and where. If they don't have any ideas, then just admit it and get out of the way. Otherwise, engage in the negotiation.

    December 2, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  3. vic , nashville ,tn

    98% of Americans Christmas wish list also
    “The Oklahoma congressman made headlines this week when he suggested that Congress pass a deal piece by piece and immediately extend tax cuts for the 98% of Americans who fall below the $250,000 threshold, then negotiate later over the remaining top 2% of taxpayers.”
    True True ………….
    Advice to house republicans
    1) First extend the tax cuts for the 98% of Americans
    2) Put the GOP proposal on the table,
    3) Negotiate

    December 2, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. w l jones

    What good to have money and no place to spend it on the thing one need.

    December 2, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. trex

    ........If the gop allows us to "GO OVER THE CLIFF".............they will NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER win any national election.

    December 2, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    And you Mr. Cole have a degree in Hisotry not in economics as Mr. Giethner, so I do understand why you would call Obama's plan "a Xmas list" because when something we don't know or understand then we always hide behind negativity instead of admitting "I just don't know or I just don't understand".

    December 2, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. Yonni

    This people act like a chiled. Everything is a game to them what it is with the curent GOP?

    December 2, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. Joanne Renshaw

    Major sticking point: "extend the TEMPORARY tax cuts that originated under former President George W. Bush". Key is the word "TEMPORARY". The American people have spoken: the tax cut has expired. It is now time to rewrite the rules.

    December 2, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  9. FactCheck

    According to Gallup, Congress has a 8% approval rating. I'd like to know where in this country can you find 8% who actually approve of the job these clowns are doing.

    December 2, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  10. Kim

    Dems told Republicans what they want, now is the time for the Republicans to put out what programs they wan to cut and how much. It sounds to me like they want the Dems to do their work as well. They know cutting these programs will be unpopular and want the Dems to take the hit for something they want. The Republicans are to weak to put this information out. Politics at it's worst.

    December 2, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  11. Pander Bear

    Hey Cole, did you miss the last election? The people of the US want the tax cuts for millionaires to expire. Period.

    December 2, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  12. Kim

    Well said @ Vic in Nashville

    December 2, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. jefflz

    The Bush tax cuts are responsible for the majority of the debt problem. They should be allowed to expire to permit us to move toward sensible debt reduction. To cut social programs for the elderly and the poor in exchange for the elimination of welfare programs for the rich is both immoral and bad economic policy for the long run.

    December 2, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  14. AK_steve

    Seems the GOP is not serious. Instead of offering a counter proposal they are going out on the streets and already blaming the president. Party before Country. The GOP has not changed – in fact is worse. Good bye America the GOP is sinking our ship.

    December 2, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. Name laz Pittman

    It's a start you grinch!!

    December 2, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. PJ

    "...Cole said he would stand by his party no matter what decision was made".
    ****
    So, they are still putting party first, America second. Still campaigning for votes four years ahead, and still
    sticking their heads in the sand pretending they didn't lose.
    Didn't take long for them to pull Cole back into line, did it? I'm a bit "flabbergasted" myself.
    BTW, why is Dan Senor still around and who cares what he says? I do not.
    Get to work idiots, before your next one month vacation starts – again.

    December 2, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. GOP = Greed Over People

    Funny how if all the numbers were the same, except Robme had won, then this election would have been a "mandate" against taxing the "job creators" and a mandate to repeal Obamacare.

    But the GOP is blind to the "mandate" to tax the "job creators" since the winner was named Barack Hussein Obama.

    December 2, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. Ancient Texan

    The GOP "GAVE" on taxes....the DIMS have not GIVEN an inch on anything, certainly not the insane spending.

    December 2, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  19. John

    A game this high stakes and the GOP open with peanuts. Talk about bush league.

    December 2, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  20. Patrick in Wisconsin

    Well how bout this Mr. Cole? We physically find the fiscal cliff and we throw you over it? Either come to the table or shut up.

    December 2, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. Steve

    Yoni, the problem is: these people don't have a clue about what they are doing. A historian, lawyers, amateurs and alcoholic politicians making economic decisions that affect everyone is scary.

    December 2, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  22. mgrgurich

    The game is pawn stars. Obama is the guy who walked in with an old musket and asked for twice what it is worth. Now it is time for Boehner to offer half what it is worth so we can negotiate to a price in the middle. If Boehenr refuses to negotiate The President gets to keep the musket.

    December 2, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  23. HenryB

    The GOP finally is in a position where they don't control the conversation. Sweet!!!!

    December 2, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    Obviously, the GOP phrase-makers and spinmeisters have been hard at work coming up with cute little phrases. None of this changes the FACT that Repubs are a bunch of whiny babies who would rather harm our country than raise taxes on the wealthy.

    Reagan – who raised taxes 11 times during his presidency – is spinning in his grave at what a bunch of childish morons his party has become.

    December 2, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  25. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    And what's the Republican's counter proposal?

    December 2, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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